However, that draft nearly had a very different outcome, according to Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk. Simms heard rumors from his trusted sources that Seattle had offered Russell Wilson for the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, with the plan supposedly being to replace their Super Bowl winning QB with Mayfield. This was coming off a year where Wilson led the NFL in touchdown passes and made the Pro Bowl.
“I have heard a rumor from some people I trusted a few years ago that Seattle called Cleveland when they had the No. 1 pick,” Simms said. “And there was this rumor going around the NFL that they offered Russell Wilson to the Browns for the No. 1 pick the year they drafted Baker Mayfield. I never followed up, but I had people tell me that’s what they are hearing.”
Contract Talks Between Wilson-Seahawks Propelled Rumors
At the time the Seahawks and Wilson were approaching contract talks after a stellar start to his career where he quickly established himself in the top-tier of quarterbacks. The following year Wilson went on to sign a record-setting four-year, $140 million contract extension, which included a $65 million signing bonus.
“We are two, three years down the road and the Seahawks have totally flipped the organization over to where it is all about Russell Wilson,” Simms said. “Is more un-tradeable now and I think he even was then. I’m not sure how serious those discussions were.”
Simms’ Pro Football Talk co-host Mike Florio backed the rumor, seeing it as a negotiation tactic.
“I think there may be something to it,” Florio said. “If you want too much, we will trade you and get what we can get. And we are going to put you in the position to be a jerk. He’s so buttoned up, so polished. It’s one thing for Antonio Brown to but the kabash on a trade to Buffalo. It’s another thing for Russell Wilson to put the kabash on anything. What’s he going to say? If the Browns want him and the Seahawks are going to trade him, what’s he going to say? I don’t want to go to Cleveland? He’s not wired to do that. So they really could have put him in a tough spot.”
Baker Mayfield Seeking Bounce-Back Year
Wilson has proved to be worth every penny of his contract, becoming the focal point of the Seahawks franchise on and off the field. Mayfield, meanwhile, is coming off a sophomore season where he struggled mightily.
The former No. 1 overall pick is coming off a disappointing season in which the offense never truly clicked. After garnering some MVP hype in the preseason after a stellar rookie year, Mayfield finished the year with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%) despite having both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry at his disposal.