The new pact, which includes $24.25 million in guarantees, averages $11.5 million annually, a hefty raise from the three-year, $13 million contract signed in the spring of 2014.
Although Baldwin tied for the NFL lead in receiving touchdowns (14) last season, Jermaine Kearse had bypassed him as Seattle's highest-paid wideout when the latter was re-signed in March. The new deal is well deserved.
Undrafted out of Stanford in 2011, Baldwin enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2015. He was responsible for the NFL's top passer rating when targeted (139.9) last season and scored 11 touchdowns in the final six regular-season games after managing the same number in his previous 43 contests combined.
A sure-handed receiver, sterling route runner and willing run blocker, Baldwin was not only the league's most efficient slot weapon but also one of the most effective pass catchers, period. Of the 87 receivers to play at least 25 percent of their teams' snaps and accrue an average depth of target beyond 10 yards, Baldwin's completion rate of 79 percent was No. 1. He was also the only wide receiver to score double-digit touchdowns and average at least 10 yards per target.
The Seahawks' run of success shows no sign of abating any time soon. Baldwin joins an impressive nucleus of Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner, Cliff Avril, K.J. Wright and Jermaine Kearse all signed through the 2018 season, joining second-year stars Thomas Rawls and Tyler Lockett as roster mainstays. Pro Bowl defenders Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett are each signed through 2017 to boot.
Along with Marshawn Lynch's retirement and Wilson's second-half emergence as one of the NFL's most lethal passers, Baldwin's new contract is a signal that the aerial attack will take on greater importance in Seattle going forward. More importantly, the championship core will give the Seahawks a realistic shot at the Lombardi Trophy every year for the foreseeable future.