The Seattle Seahawks are unlikely to be labeled as a top potential landing spot for recently released quarterback Baker Mayfield, but the team could stick it to their rival by claiming the former No. 1 pick ahead of the San Francisco 49ers. The one advantage of the Seahawks being behind the Niners in the standings is the team’s status ahead of their NFC West foes on the waiver wire.
After months of speculation, Mayfield was finally released, but it was by the Panthers instead of the Browns. The Seahawks had been linked to Mayfield prior to the Browns trading the quarterback to the Panthers. Despite their own quarterback uncertainty at the time, Seattle was not aggressive in their pursuit of Mayfield, instead opting to have the competition play out between Geno Smith and Drew Lock.
The Seahawks’ decision proved to be correct in a major way with Smith emerging as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL this season. Meanwhile, Mayfield was unable to hold onto the starting job with the Panthers.
The Seahawks Could Add Mayfield for $1.3 Million
There are several reasons the Seahawks could at least consider putting in a waiver claim for Mayfield. The 49ers are now in the market for a new quarterback with both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo being ruled out for the season. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, if a team claims Mayfield it will cost the franchise about $1.3 million, a far cry from the $32 million contract the quarterback signed as the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
“Any team claiming Baker Mayfield on waivers would assume the remaining $1,349,444 guaranteed on his contract,” Pelissero tweeted on December 5. “That could influence how things go on waivers. The #49ers are near the bottom of the priority list.”
Seattle is No. 20 in the waiver claim priority just above the Niners at No. 24. There is also a chance that a team higher in waiver priority could claim Mayfield before the Seahawks, removing the quarterback as an option for Seattle.
Mayfield Could Be a Backup QB Option for Seattle in 2023
To be clear, the Seahawks would not be adding Mayfield to compete as the team’s starting quarterback. If nothing else, Seattle would be blocking San Francisco from having a chance to potentially improve their quarterback depth. Mayfield will be a free agent this offseason, meaning there is no long-term commitment for Seattle.
There are a few football reasons for the Seahawks to consider adding Mayfield even if the team is not looking to thwart their rival. Seattle has expressed a desire to retain Geno Smith and Drew Lock but both players are free agents in 2023. Mayfield is likely going to have to become a backup quarterback before having any chance of once again establishing himself as a starter.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has never shied away from pursuing former highly-touted prospects who have failed to live up to lofty expectations. The Seahawks showed success with having this mindset with Smith who has now resurrected his career.
Claiming Mayfield would give Seattle an up-close look at a potential backup option for 2023 if the team is unable to re-sign Lock. Seattle must weigh the advantages of this compared to potentially upsetting the successful dynamic of the current quarterback group.