RENTON, Wash. — After the Super Bowl celebration wrapped up, Seattle general manager John Schneider laid out his contract plans to Doug Baldwin.
First on the agenda was getting an extension done with All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Next was figuring out a deal with All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.
And lastly was getting Baldwin locked up.
“It was kind of surprising at the end when he said it,” Baldwin said. “I didn’t believe him, to be honest with you. But here it is and it actually happened the way he said it would happen.”
The former undrafted wide receiver out of Stanford got his reward on Thursday when he signed an extension that will keep him with the Seahawks through the 2016 season. Baldwin will play the 2014 season under the second-round tender he received as a restricted free agent then will receive two additional years.
The deal, first reported by ESPN.com, is expected to be worth up to $13 million over the three seasons. The second-round tender for 2014 is worth $2.18 million.
“It all comes back down to what you value. In this game, your value is determined on the amount of money that they give you, but necessarily for me, the value that I wanted to get out of it, that varied,” Baldwin said. “It wasn’t necessarily just the money. It was the fact that I was able to stay here with an organization that I love, and teammates that I love.”
Much like Sherman, his teammate going back to college and close friend, Baldwin got his moment in the limelight, posing for pictures holding his jersey and thanking everyone who has helped along the way.
Baldwin said he didn’t want the attention of a formal news conference. But he did have a bottle of apple cider ready to pop in celebration.
“To me this is just part of the process,” Baldwin said. “This is not the end goal.”
Baldwin has proven to be invaluable for the Seahawks throughout his brief career. He was Seattle’s leading receiver as a rookie and after being slowed by injuries in 2012, bounced back with a standout season during the Seahawks’ title run.
Baldwin had 50 catches in the regular season and five touchdowns in 2013 and was especially reliable on third downs.
In the playoffs, Baldwin again came up big at key moments. He had a 24-yard, third-down reception in the NFC divisional playoff game that came one play before Marshawn Lynch’s clinching 31-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of the 23-15 victory over New Orleans.
In the NFC championship game against San Francisco, Baldwin had one of the best games in his career. He finished with six receptions for 106 yards and had an important 69-yard kickoff return in the third quarter that helped swing momentum.
Baldwin added another five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl blowout of Denver.
It’s been a rapid rise for Baldwin, who went undrafted coming out of Stanford in 2011 and has used that slight as motivation throughout his career. Whether it was the talent of the Seahawks wide receiver corps being questioned or questions about whether he could be more than a receiver playing in the slot, Baldwin has not struggled to find motivation.
He could be moving into an expanded role in Seattle’s offense in 2014. With the departure of Golden Tate in free agency, the Seahawks need to find a replacement to play outside. While most of Baldwin’s success has come as a slot receiver, he has played on the outside and was in that role earlier this week during the Seahawks’ first organized team activity.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll took it one step further on Thursday by saying that Baldwin would be his starting split end.
“He’ll be all over the field,” Carroll said. “You’ll have a hard time tracking him down because he’s capable of playing all the positions and all of the spots.”