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Doug Baldwin Comments on Free Agency, Relationship with Coaches, More

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2016

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin gestures after scoring a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin is heading into the final year of the three-year, $13 million contract extension he signed with the team back in 2014, per Spotrac.   

With free agency looming in 2017, Baldwin said he isn't worried when it comes to his new deal, per ESPN.com's Jim Trotter:

If I continue to work hard, if I continue to strive to get better and not focus on things money oriented, it's eventually going to come. And even if it doesn't, I'm fine with that, too, because at the end of the day, I'm controlling what I can control... I didn't sign my new deal until almost June last time, so the offer is going to come. [General manager] John [Schneider] pretty much told me that the offer was going to come after the draft. Even if it doesn't come, I'm not worried about it. Why not? Because there are other things I value in life. I don't value worrying about that.

Trotter noted that free agency isn't a big possibility, as "both sides want [an extension] to happen."

Baldwin put up a career season in 2015—his fifth in the league—as he recorded personal bests with 103 targets, 78 receptions, 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns. 

Those numbers led all Seahawks receivers, and his touchdowns led the entire league. 

He helped spark Seattle's turnaround after a subpar 4-5 start, using his Pro Bowl-level play to back up his leadership in the locker room, as he discussed with Trotter: 

We weren't playing well, and a lot of what was being said [by players and coaches] wasn't being pointed enough or sharp enough. It was like, It's going to be OK, and I'm thinking in my head: 'Nah, it's not OK. And it's not going to be OK until we get our stuff together.' A lot of the leaders in the locker room, we started being more vocal -- not only to players, but to coaches regarding the environment we were creating and the message we were sending. It took a while, but our play started reflecting how we wanted everybody to be.

That included critiquing the coaching staff's play designs and having "heated debates" with head coach Pete Carroll on the sidelines during games and with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Things would get so intense with Bevell that Baldwin said "some players had to step in." 

"I put my emotions out there to let it be known," Baldwin said. "If you don't have a player like that, that can harness that in the right way, then they're not really worth anything."

His high-charged attitude evidently worked. In the final seven games of the season, Baldwin caught 11 touchdown passes and recorded six games with five or more receptions as the Seahawks finished 6-1 and earned a wild-card berth in the playoffs. 

The NFL showed his final touchdown of that red-hot stretch:

NFL @NFL

5 Games. 11 trips to the end zone. And this one goes for 25. All Doug Baldwin does is score touchdowns. #STLvsSEA https://t.co/QVZaqcTCdl

Baldwin isn't expecting a repeat of his successful season on a personal level, though, as he explained that the Seattle offense will stress its new-look running game, which Thomas Rawls will headline without the retired Marshawn Lynch

Instead, Baldwin will be stressing efficiency: "If the ball is thrown my way, if it's a catchable target, do I catch it? I think last year I had only two drops maybe. I want to continue that path."

If he's able to remain the explosive target who helped carry the Seahawks offense in 2015, then that big contract extension will probably come Baldwin's way before he hits free agency. 

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.

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