Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin was a free agent coming out of the draft in 2011. The Seahawks quickly approached Baldwin, but in an unusual way. Thanks to Greg Bishop of SI.com, it’s come to the surface how five seasons ago, Seattle managed to lock down their current top receiver.
Seattle general manager, John Schneider, still freshly employed with only one year of experience with the Seahawks under his belt, decided to try things the old fashioned way with Baldwin. He wrote him a two-page handwritten note. (You can see the actual note below this transcript.)
My name is John Schneider. I am the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks and I am writing you this personal note to inform you of our sincere interest in signing you as soon as we are able. I attended your Arizona [State] game (nice deep ball adjust by the way) and came away extremely impressed. We had you as a draftable [sic] player although we drafted a good receiver in Kris Durham earlier in the draft, we feel strongly that you could develop into a unique contributor with your specific skill set. Doug, trust me when I tell you that we are extremely excited about your upside.
I’m sure you are disappointed for not being drafted during the 2011 Draft, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter where you start, but where you finish. Coach Carroll prides himself on providing open competition and we are still looking for a “move the chains” guy like Brandon Stokely [sic] did for us last season. Oh, and by the way there were 23 non-drafted players who played in this past season’s Pro Bowl! So be confident in this fact.
We- our offensive staff and scouting dept. feels [sic] like you could come in and challenge for early playing time because of your intelligence, passing game savvy, quickness, burst, body control, hand, and in stout separation skills. We also love your ability to track the ball, go up and get it, and take it away/secure it in tight areas. Very impressive in this regard.
Most importantly Doug, you fit the bill for our young program as we are looking for smart, tough, competitive, and confident football players. Coach Carroll and I are trying to build this team with young players, like yourself, who can come in and grow together in order to be a consistently competitive, championship caliber football team. We think that you, along with Golden Tate and Durham would be core guys to build with. All three of you have different skill sets, but high levels of confidence and competitiveness.
I’m sure you are well aware of Coach Carroll’s coaching style. We have a great time, but at the same time we are all about competition. Coach Carroll loves fun. Our mission is to get the most competitive group of guys together in order to compete and raise everyone’s game. In this lockout year, we feel that this is a great time to go young and let it rip! I personally feel that we are going to be able to add a whole new draft class with the rookie free agents as we had about 18 players left on our draft board when it ended.
In summary we wish you the best with your decision, but we are coming hard after you! I am good friends with your agent Buddy, so we will be making you an offer as soon as we can!
Come join the Hawks!
Schneider’s ploy worked. Baldwin was the No. 72 player on NFL.com’s top 100 in 2015. According to NFL.com, he tied the NFL with 14 scores in 2015 and became the Seahawk’s seventh player to record a 1,000-yard season. His 2015 season made him one of only three players in club history to achieve 1,000-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in one season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Largent as well as Joey Galloway.