Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay created a minor stir on Twitter last week with the following tweet.
He followed it up with this tweet a little later.
Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star attempted to connect the dots, listing restricted free agent Victor Cruz, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Miami’s Devone Bess and Seattle’s Doug Baldwin as potential targets of the Colts.
Irsay later told reporters at the NFL owners meetings down in Arizona that the receiver his team is targeting is not Cruz.
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The connection for Baldwin and the Colts are obvious, with former Stanford teammate Andrew luck and ex-Cardinal offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton now leading the offense in Indianapolis.
Coincidentally, Baldwin was at Stanford working out with Luck and other former Stanford teammates now in the NFL when the rumor broke, and helped to squash any more speculation via twitter.
While I do not believe Baldwin will be shipped to Indianapolis, I do not think it’s out of the realm of possibility for the Stanford receiver to be traded to another team.
Baldwin is a valuable commodity as a slot receiver who proved during his rookie season that he can be productive if given the opportunity. But right now, the Seahawks have committed long term to Percy Harvin as the team’s slot receiver, making Baldwin expendable.
The Seahawks are likely looking to recoup the 2014 third round pick the team gave up to get Percy Harvin. Yes, I don’t think Seattle would get a third round pick back in return for Baldwin, but perhaps a conditional fifth rounder that could increase with performance incentives met.
Yes, I understand that Baldwin is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, is inexpensive and will be a restricted free agent (and therefore under Seattle’s control) at the end of 2013. But that’s part of the reason other teams would be interested.
Also, it benefits Baldwin to go to a place where he can get more of an opportunity to put up decent stats, so he can command more money when he hits free agency. In Indianapolis, Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton have been used predominantly as the team’s slot receivers. But Baldwin already has some chemistry with his former quarterback at Stanford, and could become to Luck what Brandon Stokley has been for Peyton Manning throughout his career.
Lastly, while not as good as Baldwin, the Seahawks have answers behind Harvin at slot receiver in case he gets injured. Golden Tate, Jermaine Kearse and Charly Martin all has spent time in the slot. Deon Butler and Ben Obomanu are both available free agents, know Seattle’s scheme and can serve as competent, inexpensive fill-ins.
And there’s several talented slot receivers available in this year’s draft, who if selected would be locked into inexpensive, four year deals. They include Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope, Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton, Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton, USC’s Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin of Texas and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network review some of the slot receivers available in the draft in this video link.
Brian McIntyre of Yahoo Sports takes a closer look at Cliff Avril’s two-year deal with Seattle. McIntyre: “According to a source with knowledge of the contract details, Avril's deal in Seattle is actually worth $13 million, with $11 million in guaranteed money and a little over $2 million available in incentives and escalators.”
Peter King of Sports Illustrated says the NFC West has emerged as a powerhouse after the first week of free agency. King also expects compensatory picks to be announced today.
Nate Davis of USA Today gives Seattle an A grade for the team’s efforts so far in free agency.
Former Seattle offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus re-signed with Washington for two more years.