Despite a new wave of rumor mill speculation, the Seattle Seahawks have “zero interest” in trading for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield if his contract remains unchanged, per a prominent team insider.
A report on Wednesday evening from Josina Anderson of CBS Sports said that the Seahawks have “high interest” in dealing for Mayfield and could even ink him to an extension. However, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times poured some cold water on the idea of the former top pick ending up in the Pacific Northwest, saying that nothing has changed for the Seahawks when it comes to Mayfield.
“My understanding is nothing has really changed on Seattle’s stance on this — if he’s released they’d be interested,” Condotta tweeted. “But they have zero interest in acquiring him at his current contract, which obviously means there’d be a new contract of some sort.”
Condotta expanded a bit in his follow-up article, writing: “[Pete] Carroll said at the league meetings in March that he expected the Seahawks to have four quarterbacks on its roster in 2022. Could that be Mayfield? For now, that question appears to have the same answer as it has all along — if he’s released, or if the Browns want to take on most/all of his salary, the Seahawks could be interested.”
It’s not the first time the Seahawks’ interest in Mayfield has been disputed. While appearing on the Ryen Russillo Podcast in May, ESPN’s Diana Russini said Seattle has been out from the start on the outspoken QB.
“The Seahawks have been telling me from Day 1 they have no interest in Baker Mayfield,” Russini said. “They’re riding Drew Lock, which we can talk about that another time. That’s their choice.”
Baker Mayfield Being Released Very Unlikely
The idea of Mayfield inking a longer deal with a more team-friendly cap number could be key in getting a deal done. Mayfield is due $18.9 million of guaranteed money for next season but he could be willing to negotiate that number if it meant more long-term security and a chance to build back his reputation as a capable starter in the NFL.
If the Seahawks are banking on Mayfield being released, it’s a longshot he’ll end up on their roster. Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says that won’t happen, even if the situation stretches on into training camp. Per Cabot:
The Browns have no plans to cut Mayfield, even if he’s still on the roster at the start of training camp in July, a league source tells cleveland.com.
With Mayfield under contract for a fully-guaranteed $18.86 million, it makes no sense for the Browns to cut him and take the entire hit. They’ll subtract whatever he makes from his next team from that amount, but it wouldn’t make much of a dent.
While the trade market has been slim for Mayfield, it’s less about his talent and more about the tough situation both he and the Browns are in. Cleveland has little leverage in trade negotiations and teams have been adamant about wanting the Browns to eat the majority of Mayfield’s salary for next season.
Mayfield completed 60.5% of his passes last season for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He had surgery on a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder this offseason but is expected to be ready to roll for training camp.
Browns Willing to Pay Half of Mayfield’s Salary
The Carolina Panthers have been linked to Mayfield multiple times since he hit the trade block, with the sides discussing a deal as recently as mandatory minicamp. But again, the issue has been Mayfield’s salary, with the Panthers wanting the Browns to take on $13 million to $14 million, per the Charlotte Observer.
While the Browns may not go that high, they’ll pay half, per MMQB senior NFL reporter Albert Breer.
“They’re willing to take on a fair amount of Baker’s salary,” Breer said on the June 17 edition of The Rich Eisen Show. “Like $9 or 10 million. So for people out there who think that Cleveland’s holding on to Baker as Deshaun [Watson] insurance, they wouldn’t be offering to take on a pretty significant portion of the guy’s salary if they were looking to hold him until there’s more clarity in the Deshaun Watson case.”