Baldwin’s market rate is confirmed at $10M-$11M

Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin celebrate a 16-yard TD hookup vs. Carolina (Seahawks.com)It’s official: The going rate for second-tier No. 1 receivers is indeed upwards of $11 million a year.

Keenan Allen’s new deal with San Diego — $45 million over four years — backs up the four-year, $40 million deal Allen Hurns received from Jacksonville and sets Doug Baldwin’s market.

As we said the other day, John Schneider is going to have to decide whether to overpay yet another receiver — as he did Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin (after Tim Ruskell overpaid Deion Branch and T.J. Houshmandzadeh). The difference, of course, is that Baldwin is a homegrown Seahawk who has a proven performance history for Seattle.

The Seahawks — a run-based team with a newfound plethora of receivers — surely would prefer to pay Baldwin no more than $8 million a year.

It will be interesting to see whether Schneider is willing to go to $10 million, considering the Seahawks have Tyler Lockett, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, Jimmy Graham and a bunch of younger players on a team that throws the ball less than almost every team in the NFL.

It seems very likely now that Baldwin will have to prove he is worth $10 million by playing out his contract (which pays him $5.6 million in the final season of a three-year, $13 million deal).

No one should be worried that Baldwin will hold out. He has made that clear in a couple of recent interviews.

On Thursday, Baldwin said he is focused on preparing for next season and “that other stuff will take care of itself.”

On June 3, he told 710 ESPN, “I’m not worried about it. I’m focused on helping my teammates and being out here for OTAs and practicing my tail off so that we can get ready for this season.”

Baldwin did admit that he has talked to his agent about the possibility that he could become a free agent in 2017.

“I’ve obviously thought about it,” he told 710 ESPN. “I’ve built a foundation here in Seattle. I love it here in Seattle. I’ve got my teammates; my teammates are my family. Yeah, I’ve thought about it. It’s not something that you look forward to if you have to do it. It’s just like any other industry, any other thing. If you have to move, there’s difficulties behind it. But that’s part of the business.

“At this point, it’s not my decision,” he said. “I’m still waiting on the call. When we have that conversation, we have that conversation.”

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5 thoughts on “Baldwin’s market rate is confirmed at $10M-$11M”

  1. Another way of looking at this is this is that — even with paying DB the market rate — the proportion of the salary cap allotted to the WRs would still be ~10% and dropping. I’m not for overpaying anyone, but the market is rapidly making a statement that $10MM is the going rate, not overpayment.

    Plus, the dropoff after Lockett is acute: I like Kearse, but he is as good as he’s going to be, and that’s a far cry from DB. PR has yet to show that he can stay on the field, and the others are not particularly thrilling.

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    1. When I say overpay, I mean the entire NFL overpays receivers (and has for a long time). Baldwin’s market definitely is set, so the Hawks have a decision to make (as will he).

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      1. Is your conclusion that the price setting for WRs represents a market failure? If that’s case, wouldn’t one assume that most and maybe all NFL teams were deep at wide receiver?

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      2. I think the NFL overvalues receivers because it has turned into a passing league. I also think the Seahawks in general would prefer to pay less, but Schneider certainly has paid market value (or more) in the past, with Rice, Harvin, Graham.

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  2. FYI, here’s a % breakdown by position group, based averages:

    DB: 25.6% of salaries
    DL: 15.2%
    QB: 14.5%
    LB: 13.1%
    WR: 8.3%
    TE: 7.3%
    OL: 7.2%
    ST: 6.7%
    RB: 2.0%

    As I say, this is based on average salary, not 2016 (the best I could do for a back-of-the-envelope calculation) and makes some assumptions about roster composition, but it’s illustrative of PCJS thinking.

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