As the Seahawks opened their first minicamp with their 2014 squad Tuesday, it should have been no surprise that Doug Baldwin was one of the standouts despite limited repetitions.
After all, the fourth-year wide receiver is in the middle of talks for a new contract and is eager to remind the team that he is worth every penny he is asking for.
The restricted free agent has not yet signed his one-year, $2.187 million tender as he seeks a long-term deal. He said he has exchanged offers with the team.
“It’s going to take some time,” he told KJR-AM last week, per The Seattle Times. “It’s just the process of going through the negotiations. … It’s still very early in the stages of the conversation and I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but hopefully we can get something done soon.”
That all depends on whether the two sides can agree on Baldwin's value. We already have a good idea of what the Hawks are willing to pay -- based on what they weren't willing to pay Golden Tate.
Tate signed a five-year deal worth $31 million with Detroit in March, and he told 710 ESPN the Seahawks offered 40 percent less, which would amount to under $4 million a year. He also said the Hawks were offering no more than $9.5 million for the first two years, which jibes with other reports that they offered about $4.5 million per year.
The wide receiver market was pretty lukewarm this year, with Eric Decker (Jets) leading the way at $7 million per year and Tate and Emmanuel Sanders (Broncos) getting deals worth about $6 million.
Riley Cooper got $5 million a year to re-sign with the Eagles, and that is the number Baldwin and his agent probably are looking at because the two receivers had similar numbers in 2013. Cooper: 47 catches for 835 yards and eight scores. Baldwin: 50-778-5.
Baldwin led the Seahawks in receiving as a rookie in 2011 and came up with a spectacular clutch catch seemingly in every game last season.
“Doug has been a tremendous player," coach Pete Carroll said after Baldwin's standout practice Tuesday. "When you go back and look at the last few years, and you look at the significant plays that have happened, he’s been a part in a lot of big stuff. He continues to always be at the front in making things happen, and he did it again today. He had a great day today. He’s just such a great worker and such a discipline competitor that he brings it every chance he gets, and it shows.”
But will the Hawks show him the money? Will they want to pay him more than $4.5 million, especially when they are paying Percy Harvin $12 million a year and just drafted some roster insurance in Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood (who seems like a bigger version of Baldwin)?
Baldwin told KJR what will happen if he doesn't like Seattle's offer: “If we are unable to reach an agreement, I will sign the tender, play that out and then be an unrestricted free agent."
But Baldwin and his agent surely want to avoid that, considering Baldwin would join a saturated market that probably won't yield many big contracts. Among the other receivers who are scheduled to become free agents in 2015: Andre Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Roddy White, Jeremy Maclin, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker and Hakeem Nicks.
For those who thought he might be dumb enough to hold out, Baldwin said doing so “would not allow me to pursue my passion for playing football. So sitting out does nothing for me. I’m going to play this season, whether it’s on the tender or under an extension.”
MORE HAWK TALK
**Harvin said he plans to "put my mark on this season. I didn’t give this team all that I had last year because of the injuries, so I’m just looking to do what I do. And I know a lot of the guys, Richard and those guys, are looking to come in and show you why they got (the contracts) they got. … This team, I feel, should be even better.”
**Carroll said Earl Thomas is the No. 1 punt returner at this point, although he will battle Harvin and others. Thomas wants to do it: “I’m very excited. I’ve been waiting on this opportunity. This is what I do – I’m an athlete. I’ve been trying to tell Coach Carroll to put me back there for the longest. I always try to go back there during walk-throughs, just to try to sneak a punt return, show them who I am and I want to score a touchdown. So this is a perfect opportunity for me to score a touchdown. I’m an offensive guy at heart. That’s why I don’t try to go out of bounds when I catch interceptions.”
**Injury update: LB Malcolm Smith had minor ankle surgery and is expected back for training camp. Also recovering from surgeries and expected for camp are SS Kam Chancellor (hip), OT Russell Okung (toe) and WR Sidney Rice (knee). CB Tharold Simon (foot) is expected to join the team for part of this minicamp.
**The Seahawks signed both of their fourth-round Kevins: Norwood and Pierre-Louis. Norwood's deal is expected to be worth $2.64 million, including a $420,000 signing bonus. KPL's deal should be for $2.6 million, including a $386,000 bonus. All of the rookies are now signed, at a net hit of about $1 million against the cap (only their bonus proration counts because their rookie salaries are not among the top 51).
**The Hawks also filled out their roster, adding linebacker Horace Miller to replace Garrett Scott. Miller (6 feet, 237) was undrafted out of UTEP this year. That means a report that the Hawks had signed NAIA All-American tackle A.J. Harmon was inaccurate.
**General manager John Schneider expounded on the decision to pay Scott and keep him on IR: “This enables him to go and see different experts and allows us to either assist in getting him back on the playing field in 2015 or help him transition to his post-football career. We’re just blessed that our docs dug further into the player and hopefully helped save a life.”
**Looks like Jeff Ireland won't be hired by the Seahawks full time. Schneider brought in his friend to consult during the draft, but the controversial former Miami GM will not be staying, according to Bob Condotta.