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Doug Baldwin’s failed physical designation: What does that mean in the NFL?

Doug Baldwin leaves the field
Seahawks released Doug Baldwin with a failed physical designation. Pic credit: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia Commons

The Seattle Seawhawks announced on Thursday that the contract of wide receiver Doug Baldwin had been terminated with a failed physical designation.

Baldwin, who earned two Pro Bowl selections during his eight seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, started his career with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011, but rose to become one of the Seahawks best receivers ever, with 49 receiving touchdowns surpassed only by Hall of Famer Steve Largent.

He struggled with multiple injuries throughout  the 2018 season and underwent a knee procedure as well as shoulder and hernia surgeries this offseason.

Seahawks also terminated the contract of Kam Chancellor, who suffered a neck injury in the 2017 season and has not played since then.

“The Seahawks have made the difficult decision to terminate/failed physical Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor,”  a statement by John Schneider, Seahawk GM, said. “These are two of the most iconic players in franchise history and both were instrumental in establishing our championship culture, great examples of competitiveness and leadership on the field and in the community. These legendary players will always be a part of our Seahawks family.”

Although many fans understand that Baldwin and Kam have parted ways with the Seahawks and that both players’ careers could be over, many are wondering exactly what it means — including the financial implications — when an NFL player is said to have been released or their contracted terminated with a failed physical designation.

What does it mean when a player is released with failed physical designation?

When a player is released with a failed physical designation it simply means that the team has terminated the contract of the player on the injured reserve (IR) list because the team has decided that he can no longer play for them because of the injury.

When a vested veteran (more than four years of service) is released by his team, the player is free and can sign with any other club. However, when a player released with a failed physical designation is unable to play again due to the injury, the team will have to pay a league-mandated injury protection payout.

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