RENTON – Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, who carries the affectionate nickname “Angry,’’ softened for just a few minutes Thursday.
The player who clawed his way onto the roster in 2011 as an undrafted free agent from Stanford smiled as he popped open celebratory apple cider to begin a news conference to announce he had signed a two-year extension that will keep him with the Seahawks through the 2016 season.
He smiled again when he addressed one last question to discuss a deal that guarantees him $8.5 million and could pay him $13 million over three seasons, with incentives that could pay him up to $19 million.
“Obviously I’m very excited to have a little extra money in my pocket,’’ he said.
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He promised, though, that the money and security won’t turn “Angry’’ Doug Baldwin into “Content” Doug Baldwin.
On a team filled with players who have used the lowly manner in which they entered the league to fuel a collective rise to Super Bowl champs, Baldwin might carry the biggest chip on his shoulder.
And that, he said, will remain.
“Nothing changes,’’ said Baldwin, the team’s second-leading receiver last season with 50 receptions. “I sign my name to a piece of paper, the piece of paper does nothing for me. Obviously it gives me a little bit more security. But that’s not why I play the game of football. I play the game of football because I love the game of football.”
In March, the Seahawks placed a second-round tender on Baldwin, who was a restricted free agent. That guaranteed that Baldwin would make $2.187 million in 2014. But without a new deal, he could have become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
While Baldwin said the prospect of testing the market was alluring, he wanted to stay in Seattle and receive immediate security. His new deal does that.
The three-year total deal means Baldwin can be an unrestricted free agent following the 2016 season, when he will be just 28 years old.
Baldwin wasn’t the only one smiling Thursday. His re-signing also signaled the completion of another prime order of business for the Seahawks this offseason following earlier extensions for safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman, as well as for coach Pete Carroll, on top of re-signing defensive end Michael Bennett to a new contract.
Baldwin’s new deal was the last part of a plan the Seahawks used to deftly manage the NFL salary cap to assure they could keep their key players.
Thursday, Baldwin recalled a conversation he had with general manager John Schneider shortly after the season.
“He laid out the order of things,’’ Baldwin said. “He said that he wanted to get Earl Thomas done because Earl has been here the longest, then Richard Sherman, and then myself. He’s been forthright with all of that, and honest. It was kind of surprising then when he said it — I didn’t believe it, to be honest with you. But here it is, and it actually happened the way he said it would happen.”
Schneider and Carroll said the contract proved again their commitment to keeping the core of their team intact. Baldwin was a priority, not only for his ability but also for his attitude, exemplified not only by the way he initially made the roster but his willingness to take on every task the team asks.
Thursday, he said he wanted to throw his name into the hat of possible punt returners.
“We want to be a consistent, championship-caliber football team, and we are trying to do that with our own players,’’ Schneider said, noting again that the Seahawks had been “disciplined’’ during the free-agent season to save up enough cap room to re-sign Sherman, Thomas and Baldwin.
Schneider said there could be more moves this offseason.
Baldwin’s extension, though, answers the biggest contract question the Seahawks had going into the summer.
Now, Baldwin said, it’s time to get back to answering a larger question — can the Seahawks repeat?
“This was just a steppingstone,’’ Baldwin said. “It’s part of the process. We’ve got work to do. I want to win another Super Bowl.’’
|Receiver Doug Baldwin enters his fourth season with the Seahawks this fall:|
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699
or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta