Now that he has "made it," now that he has his mega payday, will "Angry Doug Baldwin" soften? Will he play without his renowned edge?
"Not at all," the Seahawks’ notoriously fiery and record-setting wide receiver said this month, during talks on what became the four-year contract extension he signed with Seattle on Tuesday.
It’s reportedly worth $11.5 million per year.
"When I look back on it and I try to figure out what truly motivates me, it’s my love for the game. That’s what it comes down to," he said June 9. "I’ve been playing this game since I was 6 years old. I’ve never known a summer off not playing football. Even at times when it gets grueling, when you get out here on this field and smell the grass and feel the air, there’s nothing like it.
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"There’s no other experience I want to experience in life. I’m just thankful and blessed for the opportunity I get to come out here every day, so I’m not going to take that for granted. That edge will never go away, until they force me to hang up my cleats."
The Seahawks did the opposite of that.
ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported Tuesday’s deal is worth $46 million -- with a remarkable $24.25 million guaranteed.
Those numbers would make the 27-year-old, formerly undrafted Baldwin the league’s seventh-highest paid wide receiver in average value per year and average guaranteed per year ($6,062,500).
That’s how solidly the Seahawks reaffirmed Baldwin’s place as a franchise cornerstone. General manager John Schneider began working in earnest in early May immediately after the draft to finalize this deal. It was his final to-do item before training camp begins July 30.
The new contract is believed to be tacked on after the final, upcoming season of Baldwin’s three-year extension he signed before the 2014 season. That deal will pay him $4 million in base pay in 2016.
So will get a cool raise of $7.5 million per season. He will be under contract through the 2020 season.
"It is a big deal," coach Pete Carroll said, even before they had one. "He's done an incredible job for us and been a great, great teammate."
The Seahawks keep ensuring their under-30 core stays intact. Baldwin joins quarterback Russell Wilson, safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman, linebacker Bobby Wagner, linebacker K.J. Wright, defensive end Cliff Avril, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, defensive back Jeremy Lane and defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin as Seahawks signed through at least 2018.
The recent extension Keenan Allen signed with San Diego proved to be the benchmark for Baldwin. Allen is three years younger than Baldwin with 59 fewer regular-season receptions and 13 fewer TD catches in his career. He re-signed with San Diego this offseason for an average of $11.25 million per season with $5.16 million per year guaranteed.
Baldwin set the Seahawks’ franchise record with 14 touchdown catches in the 2015 regular season, tied for most in the NFL. He entered the league with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent from Stanford in 2011, the second season of Carroll’s and Schneider’s Seattle regime
Now he is fully entrenched in the newest phase of his career, one that began with him scrapping on special teams as a rookie no one bothered to draft five years ago.
"Before I became a leader, I thought success was all about building myself up. But then once I became a leader, I realized that success is about building others up," Baldwin said. "That’s where I’m at right now. I’m focused on helping the other guys as much as I can, giving them the tools they need to be successful -- just like Sidney Rice did for me when I first came in."