Reports sharply conflict on whether Seahawks want Baker Mayfield

Cleveland Browns v Green Bay Packers
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The truth regarding Seattle’s interest in Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield remains muddled, And that may be exactly how the Seahawks and/or the Browns want it.

On Tuesday afternoon, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said the Seahawks have never had strong interest in Baker Mayfield. On Tuesday evening, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, who recently reported that the Seahawks continues to have a high level of interest in Mayfield, took issue with Rapoport’s characterization, calling it “inaccurate.”

If the Seahawks are interested, they’re doing a great job of keeping it from becoming as obvious as, say, the Panthers’ interest in Mayfield. Carolina and Cleveland had trade talks during the draft. The negotiations fell apart over the respective portions of Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary that the Browns and Panthers would pay. More recent reporting indicated that the interest isn’t dead, even after the Panthers pulled the plug during the draft and picked Matt Corral.

Seattle, which did its best to misdirect everyone for months on whether Russell Wilson would be traded, possibly is doing the same thing here, working to create the impression that they aren’t interested despite being interested in upgrading from Geno Smith and the U.S. Open’s new favorite punching bag, Drew Lock. It makes sense to keep it quiet, for multiple reasons. They want to get Mayfield as cheaply as possible, both as to draft picks and compensation. With no one else poised to pull the trigger, and with the chances of the Browns and Mayfield coexisting somewhere south of slim and none, the Browns need two viable suitors in order to get the best possible deal that they can.

Over the weekend, we tried to identify the full universe of teams that could or should be interested in Mayfield, as a better option to the best they currently have at the top of the depth chart. Including the Browns, who absolutely should want to keep Mayfield if they lose Deshaun Watson for the full season, 11 teams should at least be thinking about it.

It’s a combination of chess, checkers, and chicken. Someone will eventually make the move. The Seahawks may simply be waiting for the right time to do so, while maintaining plausible deniability in the event that it doesn’t happen. In their first season post-Russ, they can’t afford to create the impression that they don’t believe in Smith or Lock, if they can’t get Mayfield. But they still don’t want Mayfield badly enough to just get it done and move on.

As the clock ticks toward the start of training camp, something needs to happen. Mayfield doesn’t seem to be inclined to take an excused absence from camp while the Browns wait for a quarterback to get injured and for someone to cough up a first-round pick and more, like the Vikings did for Sam Bradford in 2016, when Teddy Bridgewater suddenly was lost for the season in late August. Mayfield wants to get it done, so that he can commence the process of learning a new offense and a new team and a new coaching staff and a new everything, in order to have the kind of season that will set him up for a new contract.

Will it be Seattle? Will it be some other team that has spent the slow time studying game film and OTA tape and wondering whether Mayfield gives them a better chance to win as many games as possible in 2022?

It can happen at any time. It needs to happen soon, or an awkward situation between the Browns and Mayfield could get downright acrimonious.

That could be what the Seahawks are counting on. That the Browns will cut and run in order to avoid another distraction in an offseason featuring more than a few of them.

Regardless, if someone else truly believes in Mayfield, and if Mayfield is all-in with that team, they should just go ahead and do it. If it works, the extra stuff they have to surrender via trade compensation or salary won’t matter. If they wait too long, it will become harder to make it work — and they may not get him at all.

Yes, Detroit Lions, I’m talking directly to you.

19 responses to “Reports sharply conflict on whether Seahawks want Baker Mayfield

  1. “Yes, Detroit Lions, I’m talking directly to you.”

    As a Lions fan, Yes! And also, no!

    I want to see what Goff can do with a new coordinator (who he excelled under towards the end of last year) and some new weapons around him. This offense is light years beyond what it was last offseason, which still may not be saying much, but its to the point where there are no more excuses for Goff. But he still deserves his shot at leading this team this year. And I really do want to see him succeed. But….

    Add Baker to the equation and TRULY light a fire under Goff. And if Baker is prepared to sit some / most / all of the year anyway, I’m sure he’d be more invested in backing up Goff and being on the sidelines with a new team than being a healthy scratch / huge distraction with his old team.

    And obviously, if Goff gets hurt or just doesn’t cut it, Baker is an exceptionally better option than anyone else on the roster.

  2. Since he’s going to be a free agent at the end of the season aren’t suitors going to be cautious. I think Mayfield’s history would preclude a team from signing him to a long term deal at present and if he has a banner year you have to sign him to a mega contract or tag him in order to keep him.

    Unfortunately his history is good year, bad year, good year, bad year. So maybe this year is a good year, but do you then sign him to a $40mil+ multi year contract and then hope history doesn’t repeat?

  3. The Lions would have a dead cap hit of 41.1 million if they release Goff this year according to Spotrac. Not impossible but seems unlikely unless Cleveland is going to pick up a lot of what’s guaranteed to Mayfield.

  4. Just look at the tape and you’ll know how interested teams are. Can’t imagine many GMs wanna put up 18+ million for a third-tier QB.

  5. Forgetting Seattle and Carolina, it would not be a shocker if another team (Detroit, Pittsburgh, LA, etc.) signs Mayfield.

  6. nobody is going to bail the browns out of his salary, the browns will eat nearly all 18MM, Baker has played nice so far, its time he starts torching the team in the press.

  7. The bottom line – no one is interested in Baker at 18.8 million, especially because its guaranteed. And there is little incentive for Baker to offer to take less than the guaranteed payment. If the Browns truly want to get rid of him – they would eat as much of that amount (it is a sunk cost) in order to maximize a return.

    Baker has done nothing to make the Browns feel that they need to get rid of him ASAP, and I suspect they are willing to allow him to stay home and collect a check. Baker needs to force their hand and show up for camp ready to play. Do his best to outplay Watson in reps…. Make it uncomfortable for him to be around. Then and only then will the Browns move heaven and earth to get rid of him

  8. Pittsburgh keeps popping up in the Mayfield discussion but there is no way that I see this happening, even if the Browns release Mayfield. It would be an abrupt change of course considering that they signed a free agent (Mitch) and used a 1st round pick (Pickett) on a QB. While I agree that Mayfield is better than both heading into the 2022 season, I don’t see that giving the Steelers much of a lift. I think their formula and their performance will yield roughly the same results whether or not they have Mayfield.

  9. Remember the article about how Mayfield doesn’t deserve top tier QB money? Remember when you said Mayfield should be at the top of a secondary QB-contract-heap making nowhere near the Aaron Rodgers-Russell Wilson money? It would be a bad move for the Seahawks to bring Mayfield in. We already have two mayfields in Smith and Lock. We can play one of these guys (or both) this year and keep an eye on the 2023 draft. Baker is not worth the heartburn.

  10. If he was released, I think Seattle would kick the tires.

    After unloading Russ’ salary, I doubt they’d take on a large salary for guy that isn’t a sure thing.

  11. ogre4nerds says:
    July 6, 2022 at 10:28 am
    Remember the article about how Mayfield doesn’t deserve top tier QB money? Remember when you said Mayfield should be at the top of a secondary QB-contract-heap making nowhere near the Aaron Rodgers-Russell Wilson money? It would be a bad move for the Seahawks to bring Mayfield in. We already have two mayfields in Smith and Lock. We can play one of these guys (or both) this year and keep an eye on the 2023 draft. Baker is not worth the heartburn.
    —————————————————————————————————

    As bad as Mayfield was last season he’s still much better than both Geno Smith n Drew Lock are both of whom are inaccurate turnover machines. SEA has more like two Brian Hoyers on their roster as both are two of the worst QBs in the NFL. The Hawks have two of THEE WORST starting passers the NFL by a long shot…. They we’re slash are long term NFL backup QB2 Caliber QBs for a good reason..

  12. The Seahawks could bring in Baker and still finish last in that division … just not worth it. The best option for all parties is Carolina. Baker would start, and he offers them a chance for more wins than Darnold. The division is not strong outside of Tampa, so Baker may boost Carolina to wild card contender in the NFC … which that coach desperately needs. I don’t think Baker is a longterm guy, but he’s better than Darnold until the longterm is addressed. If I’m Carolina, I offer 25-50% of his salary and seal the deal.

  13. “Regardless, if someone else truly believes in Mayfield, and if Mayfield is all-in with that team, they should just go ahead and do it.”

    *************
    If anybody wanted him, they would not risk losing him for a few million dollars. Sure, you wanna pay ‘your price’, but if it’s a significant upgrade, you do it & you do it quickly. To me, it’s kinda funny how some promote this guy, creating a “false buzz” generated by speculation. One thing for certain, some team is gonna play this poorly. The Browns were just the first domino.

  14. All the armchair QB’s on this site dogging Baker need to take a hard look at how he played when he wasn’t hurt. He took a dumpster fire of a franchise, put them on his back and willed them to the playoffs. They rewarded him by bringing in the predator and then holding him hostage. I’ve never rooted so hard for a player to succeed if for no other reason than to stick it to the Browns. My guess is Baker finds a new home and thrives because no one plays better than Baker when he’s got a massive chip on his shoulder.

  15. The Lions would be better off going for CJ Stroud or Bryce Young next year. They’ll likely be drafting pretty high and if not in the top 2 have an extra first rounder from the Rams to get there.

  16. >>The Lions would be better off going for CJ Stroud or Bryce Young next year. They’ll likely be drafting pretty high and if not in the top 2 have an extra first rounder from the Rams to get there.

    Pick 29-32 will not be sufficient capital to move into the Top 2, even if you are at 3

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