Seattle Seahawks

GM updates Doug Baldwin status after 3rd offseason surgery, Seahawks host another WR pre-draft

Doug Baldwin indeed just had his third surgery this offseason.

The Seahawks don’t know when he’ll be back on a field training.

General manager John Schneider confirmed Thursday evening at his annual Ben’s Fund charity dinner for autism that Seattle’s top wide receiver had sports-hernia surgery earlier this month. The procedure was done in Philadelphia by the same specialist who did a similar operation for then-Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch in 2015.

Baldwin, 30, has had surgeries on his knee, shoulder and now abdomen since Seattle last played a game, January’s playoff loss at Dallas.

When might he get back on the field for offseason or preseason workouts?

“That’s a process we are still working through,’’ Schneider said Thursday at El Gaucho restaurant in Bellevue. “He is recovering from that right now and we will see where it goes.”

The strong inference was Baldwin will not be on the field for the team’s mandatory minicamp in mid-June. Training camp begins at the end of July.

“He’s a tough guy, though,” Schneider said. “If anybody can recover from surgeries like this, it’s Doug.’’

At the NFL scouting combine in late February, Schneider said Baldwin is on track to be ready for the start of the 2019 season.

“I mean, he’s been in the building rehabbing,” the GM said. “So, yeah.”

Baldwin has two years and $19.5 million in salary remaining on his contract. Of course, that money is not guaranteed. Few things are in the NFL.

Coach Pete Carroll has said Baldwin remains squarely in Seattle’s plans for 2019.

“I’m counting on it,” the coach said Feb. 28.

Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin makes a one-handed catch over Chiefs defensive back Charvarius Ward in the final minutes of Seattle’s home win in December. Baldwin, 30, has had multiple surgeries since the end of the season, and the team doesn’t know when he will be back on a field training. Joshua Bessex

Baldwin’s surgeries increase the priority for the Seahawks of adding a wide receiver this offseason, perhaps of drafting one. Thing is, Seattle has just four picks right now in the draft that begins in six days. It’s the fewest choices in the league and would be the fewest in team history, though Schneider absolutely wants to make draft trades like he normally does to add more selections.

Depending on how many the Seahawks add, wide receiver could be a top priority in this draft. This week bullish Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry was reportedly the latest wide receiver to have a pre-draft visit with Seattle. Harry is one of the top receiver prospects in this class, though he could still be available when the Seahawks current pick at 21st overall comes up in round one Thursday.

Right now, the Seahawks’ wide-receiving corps is basically a 30-year-old Baldwin coming off three offseason surgeries, Tyler Lockett, who is coming off a career year, and a bunch of guys.

Baldwin was Seattle’s Pro Bowl wide receiver in 2016 and ‘17. Last year was his first injury-filled season of his eight years in the NFL with the Seahawks.

He ended up missing three games in 2018, the first time he’s been out in the regular season or playoffs in 6 1/2 years.

In August he went away for what his coach called “special treatment.” It kept him out all last training camp, plus two of the Seahawks’ first three games of 2018. His streak of 102 consecutive games played, regular season and playoffs, ended Sept. 17 when he was inactive for the loss to the Bears.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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