Where does the release of Doug Baldwin leave the Seahawks’ offense?
Another key member of the Seattle Seahawks’ back-to-back Super Bowl teams is gone.
Seattle has moved forward in recent years without running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. Next on the list is wide receiver Doug Baldwin, a two-time Pro Bowler and Russell Wilson’s No. 1 target throughout their careers.
Following three surgeries this offseason, the 30-year-old Baldwin’s career appears over as Seattle terminated his contract Thursday (along with Chancellor’s, as has been expected for over a year) with a failed physical designation.
That’s going to leave a big hole to fill for the Seahawks’ offense, as former Seahawks safety and current Seahawks radio pregame and postgame show analyst Paul Moyer explained on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom.
Moyer said the toughest thing about losing Baldwin is that players with his skill set in the slot receiver position aren’t very easy to find.
“He was the best at escaping the jam, and if you’re in a slot position you’re getting jammed almost every time,” Moyer said. “… He made some of the best Pro Bowlers in the world look foolish at times – like they were non-athletes. His escapability, his quickness was incredible.”
You didn’t need to be a fortune teller to see that Baldwin’s time with the Seahawks may have been coming to an end this offseason. News of surgeries on a knee, shoulder and sports hernia were worrisome, and during the NFL Draft late last month – a draft in which the Seahawks picked three wide receivers – a report surfaced that Baldwin may have played his last down in the NFL.
Moyer said the Seahawks have done a good job getting ready for life after Baldwin, though, as rookies D.K. Metcalf, Gary Jennings and John Ursua could all be factors alongside top returning receiver Tyler Lockett and other veterans. Seattle should have a few choices to replace Baldwin’s position, too.
“The nice thing is they’ve got options. The first one that jumps out is Gary Jennings; he’s obviously become a very important draft pick because (Baldwin’s position) was his position in college,” Moyer said. “But with that being said, there’s no reason why Tyler Lockett doesn’t move into that spot. He has that same type of quickness, he’s very good at getting the release and not getting jammed, and now you can move guys like D.K. Metcalf out wide. You’ve got other receivers who can get on the sidelines and go deep one-on-one, so you can move Tyler at times.”
Even without Baldwin, quarterback Russell Wilson should have open receivers to target in 2019.
“He’s going to have athletes like he’s never seen. This is a deep rookie group coming in,” Moyer said of Wilson and his wide receivers. “Even (seventh-round draft pick) John Ursua, he’s interesting to me. You go watch him on tape, all he does is get open. He’s little, but he is super quick. … He’s a guy that certainly could find a spot in that slot position, as well.”
Moyer discussed plenty about the Seahawks during his interview, which you can listen to in the player embedded in this post or download in a podcast version at this link.