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Hawk Talk highlights: Baldwin's contract situation

By 710Sports.com staff

Highlights from the latest edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil:

The Sports Mrs. asked why the Seahawks haven't reached a long-term deal with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, a restricted free agent who as of last week had yet to sign his second-round tender.

Super Bowl Football
Doug Baldwin is seeking a long-term deal from Seattle, but it appears likely that he'll play next season on a one-year deal. (AP)
O'Neil: They definitely do want him long-term. He would like to be here long-term. The difficult in getting a long-term deal done is that as a restricted free-agent, he doesn't get a true sense of what his open-market value would be. Any offer a team makes to him is lessened by the reality that acquiring Baldwin would require them to forfeit their second-round pick because of his restricted free agency. That means that any team can tell him, "Well, if you weren't a restricted free agent we would give you (this specific large amount of money.)" It can create a back and forth in which Baldwin feels the size of the long-term offer from Seattle isn't as big as what another team would offer him next year when he would be an unrestricted free agent.

aiiye asked whether Baldwin or cornerback Richard Sherman is more likely to receive a new long-term contract first.

O'Neil: Richard Sherman. I think all signs point to Doug Baldwin playing this season on the one-year qualifying offer and hitting unrestricted free agency. It would be a serious surprise to me if he either left for another team or signed a long-term deal with Seattle.

howker asked why the Seahawks would announce a private matter like quarterback Russell Wilson filing for divorce from his wife.

O'Neil: I would not read that much into this. First: The team didn't send out a press release. It released a statement to four guys who cover the team on a daily basis (not broadcasters). The reality is that Russell Wilson kind of had to say something: Can he keep showing up at events without his wife given how close they've been in the past? At some point, it's just leaving the question out there, and this was the least obtrusive way to get out in front of it and try to move past it.

Steve asked why cornerback Jeremy Lane is better suited to play on the outside – as O'Neil contended – as opposed to in the slot.

O'Neil: The nickel corner is generally asked to be more physical, doesn't need the straightaway speed, but has to be explosive in change of direction and have a feel for the drops he makes in the zone. Walter Thurmond was great in this regard. Explosive coming out of breaks, long arms and very feisty and physical. Lane is better matched up man-to-man, turning and running with guys.

Evil Penguin asked if the Seahawks believe in paying for premium talent regardless of position, noting the big contracts they have given at wide receiver, left tackle, running back, safety and defensive end and how they are about to do the same at cornerback and quarterback.

O'Neil: You can't lump running back and left tackle into that list, and here's why. At the time Seattle spent on Marshawn Lynch and Russell Okung, it didn't have other positions where it needed to re-sign key pieces. There was no franchise quarterback to re-sign. No All-Pro cornerback or All-Pro safety. I think that you're right, Seattle is willing to pay for someone who is great, but the question is that when you have multiple great players and different positions, which position has the priority. Right now, I would say Seattle values safety more than many teams would, values its defensive tackles perhaps a little less with the linebackers being a huge mystery because we've seen the Seahawks go consistently young.

Jeff asked about the value of the last pick in the first round – which the Seahawks own – compared to the first pick in the second round considering the latter allows the team more time to strategize.

O'Neil: Ian Rapoport brought this up the other day, and I hadn't considered it: Given the possibility that quarterbacks could slide in this draft, if there's a team in love with Teddy Bridgewater, and he's available at No. 32, are you more likely to trade into the first round to draft him? Remember, a first-round pick comes with the option to pick up a fifth-year option after the guy plays three years in the league. That's a serious asset in terms of a quarterback. If the quarterback is good – even a franchise guy – it buys you an extra year before the megadeal.

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