Doug Baldwin

Doug Baldwin pivots into action to help Seattle community

Doug Baldwin pivots into action to help Seattle community

Doug Baldwin has shifted his focus from football to philanthropy.  

The former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver recently sprung into action, in light of Washington State’s new “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, to help Seattle families and those in need. 

Baldwin and the Family First Community Center Foundation teamed up with Safeway, NW Harvest and community partners to assist those who have been impacted by the global coronavirus pandemic. 

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“Whether you are here in the Seattle area, or anywhere else in the world, we have all been affected by COVID-19,” Baldwin said in a statement via Family First Renton. “I think I can speak for the majority in that our main concern is the health of our families and community. There is no greater time than now to show our compassion for each other. To the brave men and women on the frontlines combating the spread of the virus — Thank you! We owe a great deal of gratitude to you for your sacrifice.”

[RELATED: Former Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin has found an identity outside of football]

Baldwin addresses a number of ways the community can step up to help those in need. People can make donations to provide lunch service for kids while school is out or to the unemployed families who need help with meals. Individuals can also volunteer to deliver food to the doorsteps of those who need it most. 

“Despite the challenges that lie ahead, I am confident we will rise from this moment stronger and more united,” Baldwin said. 

If you or someone you know would like to give back to the Seattle community, make sure you donate or sign up as a volunteer at FamilyFirstRenton.org

 

Former Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin has found an identity outside of football

Former Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin has found an identity outside of football

It’s been eight months since Doug Baldwin hung up his cleats.

The Seattle Seahawks wide receiver penned a letter to his “younger self” last May, indicating he’s retiring from a productive NFL career that included back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, one in which he won, and two Pro Bowl nods. He finished as Seattle’s third all-time leader in receptions and yards.

Since Baldwin walked away from the game, he’s been mostly quiet when it comes to discussing his decision to leave football. That changed Wednesday when the 30-year-old broke his silence in a podcast with Prim Siripipat of The Athletic titled  “The Next Chapter with PS."

Baldwin opened up about why it’s important to be true to himself and how he struggled mentally following his retirement from the NFL.

“About two to three months, I was in a deep depression,” Baldwin said. “You know a lot of it was just based on the transition obviously and other things going on in my life. But I’ve been playing football since I was 7 years old, 6 years old, so I have known nothing different. My whole identity was wrapped around football and performing and seeking that validation that false affirmation in a lot of those ways. So when that was removed from my life, really trying to figure out how I fit into the world and truly who I was outside of it.

“I had to come to grips with a lot of things and answer a lot of questions or ask questions that I didn’t even know the answer to.”

The two-time Pro Bowler believes his injuries gave him the clarity to close the door on his football career. Baldwin underwent three surgeries during the 2019 offseason: one for an MCL tear in his right knee, another to address a sports hernia, and a shoulder surgery, which he admitted alarmed his family.

“When the doctor came out to my wife, basically told my wife, that it’s not going to get any better. Basically said, I don’t know how he was doing this and that really affected my wife...I want to be able to hold my children when they're born. I want to play with my kids. It’s strange because during my career, I never thought about those things. It was never a priority for me.

“It’s hard for me even to say it now, because there’s still apart of me that like wants to figure it out.”

A lot has changed since Baldwin’s departure: Tyler Lockett has stepped into the team’s No. 1 wide receiver role and DK Metcalf emerged as one of Wilson’s hottest targets. Discourse of Baldwin’s departure from the Seahawks has since gone from stirring to mum.

He never did have that storybook ending the fans in Seattle could have hoped for, but Baldwin has always been true to himself. Perhaps walking away from football was the truest he’s ever been.

His series of tweets with a “My Watch has Ended,” GIF is the perfect example of that.

“I hope that anybody who read that, including myself, realizes that is authentically me,” Baldwin said. “That’s as many layers as I’ve pulled back, as I’ve tried to get as close to the center of who I am as I could possibly be. That’s it. It’s kind of relieving me of this burden that is my football identity.”

Who will fill the void created by the loss of WR Doug Baldwin?

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Who will fill the void created by the loss of WR Doug Baldwin?

Seattle began offseason workouts this week with one of the top priorities being to find someone, anyone, to fill the void created by the loss of wide receiver Doug Baldwin, released by the team last week after failing a physical. 

Seahawks' coach Pete Carroll made it clear that replacing Baldwin, who had multiple surgeries this offseason after an injury-riddled 2018, wouldn't be possible given all that he brought to the team as a player, leader and example of how to be a professional. 

"He’s been an integral part of everything we’ve ever been about since I’ve been here, it seems," Carroll said. "But not just he’s a good player – he’s been tremendous competitor in the program and he’s been a leader and he’s demonstrated everything that you’re supposed to demonstrate as a ball player in terms of toughness and grit and care and love and passion and all of that. So I don’t think we replace Doug. I think Doug was Doug and we won’t ever replace him in particular."

Well said, but Doug will no longer be Doug on the football field where his production and Jedi-like connection with quarterback Russell Wilson won't easily be replicated. 

"Doug has arguably been one of the best receivers in the National Football League for the past however many years, since he came into the league," Wilson said. "I’m glad he was on my team and I got to throw to him every day, versus him being on another team.  I think the thing about Doug is he was always open. He knew how to create separation. He had this fire that you didn’t see in anybody else, almost in a way. And I think that in terms of his passion, his love for the game, his love for just competing, his love for making plays, I mean, when the game’s on the line, he’s going to make a play, you know, and so, you’re going to miss that for sure."

How much Seattle ended up missing all that was Baldwin is the question. 

To date, Seattle has avoided signing a veteran free agent to add to the receiver mix. Names such as Michael Crabtree and former Seattle receiver Jermaine Kearse remain available. The Seahawks could also wait for a veteran to be released by another team or explore a trade. 

Another option is to simply roll with what the Seahawks have and hope that improvement from within, or an emerging rookie, will lessen the impact of losing Baldwin, whose five touchdown receptions over the final seven games last season (he missed one of them) helped get Seattle into the playoffs. 

Carroll said his is very pleased with the mix of receivers in place, and eclectic group that includes plenty of size, speed and power to go round. 

"When we get back to camp we're going to have some real competitions rolling," Carroll said. "We added three guys to the competition just out of the draft."

Here is a look at the receivers Seattle will choose from:

Tyler Lockett: He moves into the No. 1 role, which he basically took over last year while Baldwin struggled to heal his failing body. Lockett, who signed a three-years, $31 million contract extension before the season began, had career bests in receptions (57), yards (965) and touchdowns (10). 

"Tyler Lockett had a phenomenal year last year," Wilson said. "It’s his time to step up again. He’s going to have to play a major, major role this year, which he’s one of the best receivers in the league and all the things he can do to separate."

David Moore: He might be the wild card here. The seventh-round pick in 2017 came through last season with 26 receptions for 445 yards and five touchdowns and could start in 2019, or at the very least be the No. 3 receiver.  

"D-Mo is coming off really, I think, kind of a breakout year for him," Carroll said. "We're really counting on him taking another step in his junior year."

Wilson said Moore, who is 6-0, 215 and plays big and fast, must build upon last season. 

"I think for him it’s the consistency and just staying hot, cause when he gets hot, he’s on, he’s unstoppable," Wilson said. "And so we want to get him the ball as much as we can."

D.K. Metcalf: The rookie second-round pick is 6-foot-3, 229 pounds and runs a 4.33 40-yard dash. At the very least he will be a vertical and jump ball threat. He might not become a polished receiver in 2019, but he certainly should have an impact, even as maybe the No. 4 receiver. 

"He’s a freak of nature," Wilson said. "He’s a guy that can run as fast as can be. He can go up and get it, he can run all the routes and stuff like that. So it’ll be exciting to see his evolution, I think his work ethic and everything else."

Jaron Brown: The veteran of the group at age 29, Brown caught just 14 passes last year for 166 yards but five of his receptions went for touchdowns. If Metcalf is slow to develop, Brown could be the No. 3 receiver behind Lockett and Moore. 

"I feel like we underused him," Carroll said. "He had a lot of touchdowns for his catches but we expect to get more out of him."

Said Wilson: "He knows how to get open. He could create separation. He’s a leader. He’s an ultimate professional. So that’s what you’re looking for there in terms of JB."

Gary Jennings: Jennings brings size at 6-1, 214 pounds and he could play inside or out. He ran a 4.42 at the combine and should at the very least provide strong depth. It seemed rather obvious that Seattle had reservations about Baldwin's health when it selected Jennings just two rounds after taking Metcalf. 

Amara Darboh: But pushing Jennings for roster spot will be Darboh, a third-round pick in 2017 who caught eight passes as a rookie but was waived last year, landed with New England, was waived a couple of days later, returned to Seattle and spent the year on injured reserve. Now healthy, he could be back in the mix. 

"Darboh looks great," Carroll said. "He's back in the fold now, so he goes back into the competition of it."

John Ursua: The seventh-round pick is a long shot to make the 53-man roster and might end up on the practice squad. But he's fast and shifty. Where a player was drafted on this team often means little. Baldwin, after all, went undrafted. 

"The guys who want to work, the guys who want to be great, the guys who are going to do the extra work, the guys who at the end of the day are going to make a play and want to make the play, those are the guys are going to make it and we’re going to have a lot of great players," Wilson said. "So it’s going to come down to seeing what happens in the preseason and then sure enough it’ll be exciting thing. I know one thing, I’m excited to play quarterback here just to be able to throw it to these guys and how many guys are going to be able to get open, create separation and make plays."

Doug Baldwin: A wide receiver and a gentleman

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Doug Baldwin: A wide receiver and a gentleman

Last August I took my then 11-year-old son, Payton, on a trip to Seattle to see the Seattle Mariners take on the Houston Astros.

Along the way, we made a quick stop in Renton, Wash., where I attended a Seattle Seahawks fall camp practice in order to get some reporting done. The practice was open so my son was able to watch a bit of his favorite NFL team practice, which was held inside because the air quality had been poor due to severe fires in the area. 

Payton, as expected, was mesmerized by the size of the indoor practice facility at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, and by the site of the Seahawks actually practicing right in front of him. 

After the practice had ended, Payton, wearing a Seahawks cap, took a seat on a bench backed up against a wall while I joined the media contingent in conducting interviews with players and coaches. After about 20 minutes, and while waiting for a chance to talk one-on-one with wide receiver Jaron Brown, I ventured over to check on Payton, who had been playing on his phone. 

Payton had a strange look of shock on his face that at first alarmed me.

"What happened?" I asked.

"Uh, yeah," he said with a dead stare. "What?" I repeated. 

Payton, with a grin: "Uh, Doug Baldwin just talked to me,"

The story went that Baldwin noticed Payton sitting alone, walked over, extended his hand and said, "hello, I'm Doug Baldwin." My son shook his hand and replied, "I know."

They then shared some small talk for a few minutes before Baldwin headed toward the locker room. Payton was on cloud nine the rest of the day even after the Mariners had lost to the Astros. 

This story is low on the list of good deeds Baldwin does in life. He is extremely socially conscious and puts himself out there for many causes. One of his main passions is criminal justice reform. This isn't simply a story of a busy athlete battling injuries who had just ended a practice and took a couple of minutes of his time to chat up a young fan he saw sitting alone on a bench. It's a story of Baldwin being who he is; a gentleman. 

On Wednesday, the Seattle Seahawks announced that they've released Baldwin, 30, and safety Kam Chancellor, 31, after both failed physicals. That erases two more icons from the Super Bowl teams leaving just quarterback Russell Wilson and linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright as the only remaining players from both Super Bowl teams (2013-2014). Center Justin Britt started as a rookie in 2014. Defensive end Cassius Marsh was a rookie special teams player in 2014, left after a couple of years and returned this offseason. That's it.

Chancellor's playing career pretty much ended with a neck injury in 2017 but he remained on the roster because the Seahawks were still paying him on a three-year extension he signed earlier that year. Releasing Chancellor now created a $10.2 million dead cap hit for 2019 but his salary was essentially already a dead cap hit because he couldn't perform. The move also freed up about $2.5 million in cap room. 

The news of Baldwin's release is more jarring, although not completely unexpected. Baldwin, who will count as about a $6.3 million dead cap hit this season but also give Seattle about $6.8 million in cap relief, battled shoulder and knee injuries last season, missed three games and didn't score his first touchdown until a Thursday night win at home over Green Bay that put the Seahawks at 5-5. During the offseason, he underwent multiple surgeries, including one for a hernia. Reports following the latter were that Baldwin's career could be over. The Seahawks drafted three wide receivers in last month's draft seemingly in preparation for bad news regarding Baldwin. 

Seattle yesterday signed former Detroit defensive end Ezekiel Ansah to a one-year deal worth about $9 million with incentives to replace Frank Clark, traded to Kansas City for draft picks. Essentially, releasing Baldwin and Chancellor freed up money to sign Ansah. 

What has to be frustrating for both Baldwin and the Seahawks is that from a talent standpoint, he could still ball. He scored five touchdowns over the teams final seven games while missing one. His seven receptions for 126 yards and a score helped lead the team to a Monday Night win over Kansas City that pretty much cemented a playoff berth. 

He remained quick, explosive in and out of his cuts and that knack for twisting and contorting his body to make receptions on tough throws remained intact. 

However, his body ultimately failed him. 

Following the win over Kansas City, Baldwin said that he had been going through a season of "hell" just to be able to perform at all. It appears that hell has intensified over the offseason. It's a shame. In addition to the entertainment of watching Baldwin play, listening to him speak was also a joy. So wise, intelligent, thoughtful and accountable Baldwin is.

While attending numerous Baldwin press conferences, I felt like I was listening to a future politician. Not in the sense that he was spin doctoring like most do, but that he presented his points of view so well that I wanted to see him doing the same in public office.  

He will certainly be missed in that regard. 

On the field, Seattle will find a way to move forward without Baldwin, who leaves the team third all time in receptions (493), third in yards (6,563) and second in receiving touchdowns (49). Doing so will almost certainly must add a veteran receiver. Right now the starters would be the electric Tyler Lockett and the still unproven David Moore, a promising seventh-round pick from 2017. The third guy is capable veteran Jaron Brown. Behind them will be three rookies led by D.K. Metcalf (Mississippi), Gary Jennings (fourth round, West Virginia) and John Ursua (7th round, Hawaii). 

Even if Metcalf, a 6-foot-3, 228-pound athletic marvel, is polished up enough to be more than just an ornament in the offense this season, the Seahawks still need a savvy, veteran route runner and playmaker like Baldwin in the lineup. And one won't be easy to find at this stage in the game. 

Seattle Seahawks Draft Preview - Wide receiver is a definite need

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USA Today

Seattle Seahawks Draft Preview - Wide receiver is a definite need

Part 4 in an eight-part series that takes a position-by-position look at the Seattle Seahawks' needs heading into the NFL Draft on April 25-27. 

Past posts: QuarterbackRunning backOffensive line

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Today: Wide receiver

Depth Chart: Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin are the starters. The primary backups are David Moore and Jaron Brown. 

Need: Red alert. Huge need. 

Expectations: Seattle must draft a receiver capable of contributing right away in 2019.

Potential targets: Ashley Young provides a list of potential draft targets at wide receiver. 

Picks: The Seahawks have four picks in round one (No. 21), round three (No. 84), round four (No. 124) and round five (No. 159).

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Seattle general manager John Schneider last month attempted to downplay the team's need at wide receiver while appearing on a Seattle-are radio show shortly after it was revealed that Baldwin had already undergone numerous surgeries and was scheduled for a hernia procedure. 

It's difficult to buy Schneider's logic. Seattle certainly has a legit top target in Lockett and Moore is a very promising prospect as the current No. 3 receiver. Brown, caught just 14 passes last season but proved valuable in the red zone with five touchdown receptions. 

Then there's Baldwin. He battled injuries all of last season and had the second least productive year of his career with 50 receptions for 618 yards and four touchdowns in 13 starts. When firing on all cylinders, Baldwin, 30, proved to still be a major playmaker. He scored five touchdowns over the team's final six regular season games highlighted by a 126-yard, one-touchdown performance in a win over Kansas City. 

But Baldwin is banged up. On top of that, he has two years remaining on his contract that will pay him $9.25 million this season and $10.25 million next season. It doesn't make sense for Seattle to cut him loose this season because Baldwin has a dead cap figure of $6.287 million. Releasing him would save only about $3 million. Next year, however, Baldwin's dead cap figure will be $3.1 million, so releasing him would save the team $7 million.

No matter what happens next year, or this year, Seattle could certainly use another target for quarterback Russell Wilson to work with. That man might not be taken in the first round, but expect the Seahawks to come away from this draft with a young receiver that they expect to not only make the team but contribute right away. 

Seattle did not draft a receiver last year. It took Moore in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft. That same year, the Seahawks used a third-round pick on Amara Darboh out of Michigan. He played sparingly as a rookie and doesn't figure into Seattle's future plans. 

With Doug Baldwin ailing, Seattle Seahawks need immediate WR help

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With Doug Baldwin ailing, Seattle Seahawks need immediate WR help

Seattle's glaring need for a wide receiver just became even more magnified. 

Doug Baldwin, who has already undergone knee and shoulder surgeries this offseason following an injury-riddled year, will also undergo hernia surgery in April, as confirmed by coach Pete Carroll while at the league meetings in Phoenix, Ariz.

Carroll told reporters there that he didn't know when Baldwin would return to the field but appeared confident that the team's stalwart veteran would make it back.  

"In one respect there's never been anybody that's tougher and more able to come back from whatever challenges have been," Carroll said. "He's been extraordinarily adept at figuring out how to return from and understand the circumstances of being banged up. So if he could, he will. If he could do it, he will. I have no doubt in that. But it's a been a challenging offseason for him. He's had a lot of stuff he's been working on. This latest one is going to take some time again. Whatever he has to do we're going to follow and support and believe in it. If anybody can do it he can get it done."

Entering this offseason it appeared clear that Seattle would be in the market for a wide receiver given Baldwin's banged up body and uncertain future with two years remaining on his contract. Now that it appears that he will have hernia surgery that could prevent him from being ready for training camp in July, it is all the more likely that the Seahawks will select a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

Seattle has passed on signing a free agent receiver, so far. There still remains some interesting names out there, such as former Seahawk, Jermaine Kearse, as well as Kelvin Benjamin, Demaryius Thomas and Rishard Matthews

Kearse, 29, has reportedly said that he would love to return to Seattle where he started on two Super Bowl teams before being traded in 2017 to the New York Jets, along with a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who played just one year in Seattle before signing with Minnesota last year.

Last week Kearse appeared on KJR-AM radio in Seattle and was asked by former Seattle teammate Cliff Avril if he would want to return to the Seahawks. 

“Yeah. Look, I would love to play back in Seattle,” Kearse said. “Obviously, things have to work out on its own and things have to be right.

Kearse would seem to be a perfect fit and shouldn't cost too much cash to acquire him. 

Benjamin appeared to be headed for superstardom after his rookie season in Carolina before a knee injury ended his second year, he got out of shape and his career became to decline. He spent last season in Buffalo and Kansas City and wasn't very productive. But he is a big target at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds and at 28 should have some football left in him.

Thomas, 31, would be the best choice on the board if not for him tearing his Achilles in December with Houston and being charged with vehicular assault in February. So, maybe that's a hard and fast no on Thomas. 

Matthews had a rough 2018, catching just three passes in three games with the Titans before requesting and receiving his release. He landed with the New York Jets a few weeks later and that didn't go well, either. But he did play quite well in 2017 and 2018 with the Titans, amassing a combined 1,740 yard and 13 touchdowns.

Seattle has the 21st pick in the upcoming draft and there are several intriguing receivers that could be available there. Listed as maybe going off the board in that area on several mock drafts are Hakeem Bulter (Iowa State), A.J. Brown (Ole Miss), J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Stanford), D.K. Metcalf (Ole Miss), Parris Campbell (Ohio State) and N'Keal Harry (Arizona State). 

Because of past maneuvering, Seattle has just four picks in the draft coming in the first, third, fourth and fifth rounds. Seattle general manager John Schneider made it clear at the NFL Scouting Combine in February that it would be unlikely that Seattle would draft just four players. That means trades are coming. 

Seattle could easily trade out of the first round and acquire additional picks with one going toward a wide receiver in maybe the second round. 

Seattle has solid depth at receiver behind Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. David Moore progressed nicely in his second season last year and Jaron Brown caught five touchdown passes. But even with Baldwin healthy, the Seahawks must consider adding a young receiver through the draft. With Baldwin ailing, the Seahawks really have no choice. 

Whatever the route to be taken, Seattle must address this area regardless of how confident Carroll is that Baldwin has the heart and work ethic to return from his series of offseason surgeries. Because, while he might indeed return, it might only be a matter of time before he goes down again. 

Signing WR Jordy Nelson wouldn't make much sense for the Seattle Seahawks

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Signing WR Jordy Nelson wouldn't make much sense for the Seattle Seahawks

When one hears the name "Jordy Nelson," images of him making a name for himself with an MVP-caliber performance in Super Bowl XLV while with the Green Bay Packers, having four 1,000-yard seasons while playing with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and leading the NFL in touchdown receptions with 14 in 2016 come to mind. 

So, sure, why wouldn't the Seattle Seahawks entertain signing the free agent, who spent last season with the Oakland Raiders?

There are actually four reasons: David Moore, Jaron Brown, Brandon Marshall and the number 34. 

The first two players did quite well last season as the Seahawks' No. 3 and No. 4 receivers behind starters, Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin. The third name didn't quite have anything left after a stellar career and was released by the Seahawks in late October at the age of 34, which is the same age that Nelson will be come May 31. 

Nelson reportedly visited Seattle today. 

So, the question is, what would Seattle want with a 34-year-old wide receiver well past his prime that had 63 receptions for 739 yards and four touchdowns last year with the Raiders? Not much, really. 

Moore is a heck of an athlete and is just starting to realize his potential. He caught 26 passes for 445 yards and five touchdowns last season and should remain the No. 3 receiver in 2019. Brown is a luxury as the No. 4 given his height (6-foot-3) and play-making ability in the red zone. He had five touchdowns last year. Nelson is a better all-around receiver than both Moore and Brown but he doesn't offer the speed of Moore, and although he is 6-3, wouldn't at this point in his career be that much of an upgrade over Brown, who is 29. 

Seattle is not a team that spreads the field with four wide receivers all that often so Nelson's opportunities would be limited behind Baldwin, Lockett and Moore, assuming he became the No. 4 receiver. 

So, what would be the point in signing him?

One could argue that depth is depth and it couldn't hurt to bring Nelson in for a look-see. But on paper, it wouldn't appear that Nelson would truly make the Seahawks better. Seattle might be better off drafting a young receiver and working him in as the potential No. 4 option rather than going with Nelson, who might have just one year remaining in his body that has seen action in 151 games.

Or, like Marshall, Nelson won't have enough left in him to make a difference in 2019. 

Should the Seattle Seahawks pursue a trade for WR Antonio Brown?

Should the Seattle Seahawks pursue a trade for WR Antonio Brown?

The Seattle Seahawks are loaded with salary cap space this offseason (maybe as much as $50 million) and could use a super star, true No. 1 wide receiver (who couldn't?) but they should, and probably will, stay far away from Antonio Brown. 

The last thing the Seahawks need is a diva wide receiver on their young roster. 

Brown, arguably the best receiver in football, is officially on the trade market after he met with Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney II and the two agreed that it's time to part ways.

From a talent standpoint, every team in the NFL would want Brown, who is uncoverable. He has the rare combination of being an elite route runner that can also blow the top of the defense with his speed and maneuver in the open field following a reception like a seasoned running back. Brown, 30, has already put up more than 11,000 receiving yards with 74 touchdowns and should have at least two or three elite-level years remaining in his body. 

He just shouldn't spend those years in Seattle. 

Brown is only available because of his well-publicized rift with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin. The goal here is not to determine who is right or wrong in that debacle, but the entire ordeal smacks of Terrell Owens vs. Donovan McNabb in 2005. 

Regardless of fault, the Seahawks aren't about that drama. That's why they moved on from running back Marshawn Lynch and later, cornerback Richard Sherman. Granted, both were past their prime when Seattle cut them loose, but the reality is that Seattle isn't about to seek out a potential headache. 

Seattle already has two good receivers in Tyler Lockett, 26, and Doug Baldwin, 30. Lockett is truly a class act. A humble, hard-working receiver who is coming off of his best season. Baldwin has the makings of a future politician as a very intelligent, thoughtful and inspiring individual. He has one year remaining on his contract, and although it would be possible to cut him loose and his salary to fit in Brown, that probably wouldn't go over well in a locker room where Baldwin is so well respected. 

Then there is the Russell Wilson factor. Wilson has shown that he can get along with anyone, even if they don't like the Pro Bowl quarterback (see Richard Sherman). Wilson takes the high road in all potential personality conflicts and is about as classy as they come. But would he want a me-first wide receiver in the huddle? Doubtful. 

Lastly, coach Pete Carroll would probably love to have Brown's talent, but one has to wonder if he would want to deal with such a high-maintenance player. On one hand, Carroll could take the stance that Brown would give him a good shot at winning a second Super Bowl title before the 67-year-old coach calls it a career. On the other hand, Brown could cause Carroll to age 10 years over the next three. Would it be worth it? Also, Seattle is committed to the running game so much that Brown would likely see a dip in production while playing with Seattle unless the team altered its offensive approach. 

On the other hand, the idea of Wilson operating a pass-first offense with Brown, Baldwin and Lockett is rather enticing. Hmmm. 

Not gonna happen. 

None of this is to say that Brown is a bad person, a bad teammate or even 100 percent wrong in his situation with Roethlisberger and Tomlin. The point here is that acquiring Brown for at least a first-round pick and then giving him the guaranteed money he is demanding while rolling the dice that he would fit into what Seattle has going with a young, up-and-coming team coming off of a 10-6 playoff season doesn't appear to be a smart gamble.

It will be fascinating to see which NFL team will make a move for Brown and how it turns out. It just doesn't seem likely that this saga will play out in Seattle. 

Has K.J. Wright played his final game with the Seattle Seahawks?

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Has K.J. Wright played his final game with the Seattle Seahawks?

Seattle's loss at Dallas on Saturday night in the NFL Playoffs might have been linebacker K.J. Wright's swan song with the Seahawks. 

Wright made a huge play in the game when he intercepted a pass in the end zone during the fourth quarter with Seattle trailing 17-14. He committed a costly penalty when he got flagged for pass interference on third down during Dallas' final scoring drive that gave the Cowboys a 24-14 lead late in the game. Seattle lost 24-22. 

“It was a tough game," Wright said in the visitor's locker room later. "We knew it was going to be a battle... It is a learning lesson for us. We just have to bounce back."

The question is if the "we," he speaks of includes Wright moving forward. 

Wright, 29, just completed a four-year, $27 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The 2016 Pro Bowler is coming off of an injury-riddled season in which he appeared in just five regular season games because of a recurring knee injury after having missed just five games during his first seven seasons. Drafted by Seattle in 2011, Wright performed well when able to play this season. His abilities are not an issue. The question is whether Seattle wants to reinvest in him moving forward?

Wright's expressed desires leave no room for ambiguity. 

"I head into free agency and we'll see how that goes," Wright said. "Like I've said, I want to be here. I love playing with this team...And I believe that it would be in the team's best interest if I stay here."

The franchise, Wright said, has given him no indication as to if he potentially has a future with the Seahawks. 

"I want to be here but there's decisions to make and they have to do what's best for their team," Wright said. 

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was asked on Monday about Wright's future. 

“We’d love to have K.J. back with us," he said. "That’s one of the many issues.”

Juxtapose that response to the one Carroll gave when asked about the future of wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who also had an injury-filled season. 

“Yeah, I’m planning on (Baldwin) being right with us,” Carroll told reporters.

Granted, the two situations are not exactly equal. Baldwin has one year remaining on his contract worth $10.25 million of non-guaranteed money while Wright is a free agent who could choose to sign elsewhere. Still, Seattle could release Baldwin and save the $10.25 million on the 2019 cap just like the team did last year when it let go of cornerback Richard Sherman. 

While this is clearly an attempt to read into one man's words, the bottom line is that it doesn't appear that Wright is at the top of the team's lists of offseason concerns. 

Carroll did say that having Wright return to action late in the season helped the defense. 

"He’s such a great player and a great leader and mentality," Carroll said. "He gives other people strength just being around him and he’s unbelievably valuable."

But will that make him worth a new contract?

Seattle has limited options on the roster to replace Wright. Rookies Jacob Martin and Shaquem Griffin had moments but neither appears ready to start next season. Seattle would likely have to draft a linebacker or sign one in free agency. There is always the chance the Mychal Kendricks could return if he avoids going to prison after pleading guilty to inside trading. He faces up to three years. 

Losing Wright would certainly impact the locker room. 

“KJ has been unbelievable for us. I remember coming here in 2012 and seeing this tall, long, athletic linebacker that could make all the plays," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "I was like dang they make linebackers like this? I thought he was a defensive end. He’s been tremendous for us just how many plays he’s made and how many great things he’s done. He’s battled all season through injury. To be able to show up tonight once again and play great football. Him and Bobby [Wagner] are as good as it gets. They are the best tandem in football at the linebacker position. Those guys are special. Hopefully, we can find a way to keep KJ.”

Baldwin called Wright a "rock." 

"He’s been one of those pillars you look towards in the locker room," Baldwin said. "I knew exactly what he stands for. I knew exactly what he was going to bring to the table both on and off the field. It’s a testament to the man he is, first and foremost. He’s been that for all of us. For myself, Bobby has leaned on him so many times. Now the young guys get to experience that. They get the joy of a leader like that in their corner this year. It’s going to be an amazing thing. Hopefully he gets to stay with us.”

Probably nobody on the team would miss Wright more than middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. The two are the lone remaining defensive starters from the 2013 and 2014 Super Bowl teams. Wagner said the way Wright fought throw his injuries to work his way back and play the way he did on Saturday was special to behold. 

"It was a amazing," Wagner said. "Probably had a lot of guys counting him out, didn't think he was going to be good, or whatever the case may be. But you come and see when healthy how amazing of a player he is... It's amazing to have him on the field. It's amazing to see how great of player he is and see how even better of a person that he is. It's a person you definitely want to have in the building."

Wagner said he plans to keep a close eye on Wright's situation this offseason. 

"I'm pretty sure he is going to tell me everything that is going on," Wagner said. "I'll pay attention to it. He's my brother. I hope everything works out but I understand that it's a business, so I don't know what's going to happen."

Carroll likely has an idea what is going to happen. Certainly there are legitimate reasons to move on from Wright. He will be 30. He just made $7.2 million. Would he accept a pay cut to stay? Could he get a stronger offer on the open market than what Seattle would pay him? Would Seattle be better of using that money elsewhere? Also, he's coming off of a knee injury that cost him 11 games. 

But there are also many reasons to keep him around if the price is right. He can still play. He is a leader. And, will Seattle really find someone better for 2019? 

"He’s been a fantastic player for us for years in every way," Carroll said. "In every way he’s been a leader, he’s been tough, he’s been here, he’s been consistent. His messaging, everything he stands for is what we love about him and we’d love for him to be here throughout.”

We shall see just how deeply that love for Wright actually runs. 

Report Card: Grading the Seattle Seahawks' playoff loss at the Dallas Cowboys

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NBCS NW

Report Card: Grading the Seattle Seahawks' playoff loss at the Dallas Cowboys

Seattle's season ended with a thud Saturday night when the Seahawks lost 24-22 at Dallas in the NFC Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. 

The game featured numerous key moments that contributed to the team's loss but there were several uncharacteristic performances that hurt Seattle's chance of winning. Here is a report card of the Seahawks' performance:

Offensive line: D

They say strong running games travel well in the NFL playoffs. If that's the case, Seattle simply didn't bother to pack theirs and the offensive line failed to get the job done on Saturday.  

That's a shame given how far this group had come this season and how it helped the Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing.
Seattle rushed for 73 yards on 24 carries with the running backs gaining 59 on 21.

That overall production was well below the team's 160 average and short of the 113 the Seahawks gained on Dallas in Week 3.

Saturday's poor rushing performance greatly contributed to the team converting on just 2-of-13 third-down attempts. 

Left tackle Duane Brown said Seattle knew that Dallas would do a lot of stunts in order to throw Seattle's linemen off of their blocking targets, and it worked.

"They were very good at it and we just weren't efficient in adjusting to it," Brown said. "Nothing that surprised us. They'd been doing it all year."

Brown added that Seattle didn't live up to its billing as a power running team. 

"I take my hat off to their defense," Brown said. "They played a very good game. But us up front, we created an identity of being a physical team and running the football and we weren't able to do that today."

 

Front seven: C-

Let's lump both the defensive line and the linebackers into this one.

Seattle had to control Dallas' "triplets" of QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott and WR Amari Cooper. The Seahawks failed. 

Elliott rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown, Prescott passed for 226 yards, threw for one touchdown, rushed for 29 yards and a rushing touchdown, and Cooper had 106 yards on seven receptions. 

The 29 rushing yards for Prescott might not seem like a lot but 14 of those yards ultimately decided the game.

With Dallas leading 17-14 and just over two minutes remaining in the game, the Cowboys faced a third down and 14 at the Seattle 17-yard line. As if the Cowboys had planned to kick a field goal, they ran a quarterback draw. But Prescott managed to gain 16 yards on the play to set up his one-yard scoring run that gave Dallas a 24-14 lead that Seattle did not have time to overcome. 

That play alone warranted a poor grade for Seattle's front seven, which registered just two tackles for loss and one sack on the night. Still, the group did not play awful football given that it kept the team in the game despite the poor play by Seattle's offense. 

Nevertheless, allowing Elliott to have a big game helped Dallas win the field position battle. 

“It’s bad. It’s so simple too," said Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright, who had a key interception in the fourth quarter. "I hate that we can’t watch the film and come back next week. It is just something that is easy. And you just have to pick up those easy plays in order to win these football games.”

 

Wide receivers: B

Where would Seattle have been without wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who caught four passes for 120 yards, 40.1 percent of the team's total output of 299?

The problem was that Seattle probably didn't turn to the passing game often enough, which limited Lockett's potential impact and certainly contributed to Doug Baldwin having just 33 yards.

When Seattle struggled rushing the football in a game this season at Carolina, a team with a top-10 rushing defense like Dallas', the Seahawks put the game in quarterback Russell Wilson's hands and he threw for a season-high 339 yards in a 30-27 win. Wilson passed for 233 at Dallas. 

Granted, Seattle began with minus 15 yards passing in the first half thanks to a screen pass that lost eight and a sack. But, after that, Seattle got the passing game rolling but still remained committed to the run game. 

One caveat to all of this is that the team mostly threw on third downs and converted on just 2-of-13 attempts. 

But one wonders what might have happened had Seattle allowed Wilson and his receivers to go gangbusters in this game.