Seahawks Could ‘Emerge as a Suitor’ for Potential Week 1 Starter: Report

Pete Carroll

Getty The Seahawks could emerge as a "suitor" for Baker Mayfield.

The Seattle Seahawks could be looking at their potential Week 1 starting quarterback.

As the Seahawks brace for training camp with Geno Smith and Drew Lock battling it out for the starting job, there’s another veteran quarterback lurking in the wings. According to the latest report from Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the Seahawks could “emerge as a suitor” for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield more recently has been linked to the Seahawks’ NFC rival, the Carolina Panthers.

“The Seahawks are another team that could emerge as a suitor, though they’ve been pretty focused on seeing what they can get from Geno Smith and Drew Lock,” said Breer on Wednesday, June 15. “That said, once this week’s done, the team’s offseason program will be complete, and Pete Carroll and John Schneider will have a chance to reconvene on their quarterback plans with nine weeks of info to work off.”

Panthers More Aggressive Than Seahawks in Pursuit of Mayfield

As noted, the Panthers appear to be more aggressive in their pursuit of Mayfield. While the Seahawks appear to be content with either Smith or Lock as their 2022 season starter, that isn’t the case with the Panthers. Carolina is coming off of two consecutive five-win seasons with Matt Rhule as their head coach after giving him a massive seven-year, $62 million contract.

In other words, the Panthers are in win-now mode and they don’t have the utmost confidence in Sam Darnold, who is 17-32 over his four years as an NFL starter.

Head coach Pete Carroll once again doubled down on Smith being the team’s starting QB.

“Geno’s still ahead, you can tell that, but it’s not going to be too much for Drew to be caught up,” coach Pete Carroll said during minicamp. “By the time we get through camp he’ll be there. He’s really bright. It makes sense to him. He’s really sharp in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage and all of that. So it’s just time that he needs, and there’s nothing we can do but gain some more of that.”

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Why Mayfield is More Likely to Land With Panthers Over Seahawks

The difference in urgency between the Seahawks and Panthers are showing up in discussions for a possible trade involving Mayfield. Carroll is one of the most accomplished head coaches in the league. He’s a former Super Bowl winner who led Seattle to nine playoff appearances in the past 12 seasons. Even with the Seahawks looking at a likely losing season, his job security is in place.

On the other hand, this is a make-or-break season for Rhule, who was one of the top five highest-paid coaches in the league during the 2021 season. If the Panthers fail to make the postseason — or show substantial improvement, at the very least — it would be of no surprise to see Carolina move on from Rhule after three seasons of mediocrity.

Reports have indicated the Seahawks would make a run at Mayfield if he were to become a free agent. However, Seattle’s desire to acquire Mayfield isn’t as strong when it comes to making a trade for the former No. 1 overall pick. With the Browns more willing to take on a “significant percentage” of Mayfield’s $18.9 million cap hit, the Panthers have emerged as the most logical landing spot for Mayfield.

This likely means that the Seahawks are not willing to give up any draft pick compensation at all. Secondly, they simply don’t want to pay much — if any — of Mayfield’s remaining salary. They’re simply interested enough in Mayfield to sign him to a veteran’s minimum deal and by giving up nothing in return.

We’ll see how things play out prior to the start of training camp in late July, but it appears far more likely that Mayfield ends up in a Panthers uniform rather than a Seahawks one by the start of the season.

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