After months of speculation surrounding the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, a trade has finally happened. However, that trade did not involve the Seahawks, but another NFC team.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport first tweeted on Wednesday, July 6 that a trade between the Browns and Carolina Panthers was officially happening. The Browns sent Mayfield to Carolina in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2024, with the two teams splitting the financials to work out a deal.
Mike Garafolo with NFL Network tweeted that the Browns would be paying $10.5 million despite no longer playing for the team in 2022. The Panthers will be paying Mayfield around $5 million, while Mayfield agreed to reduce his base salary by around $3.5 million.
The trade comes after months of trade rumors between the former first overall pick and the Seahawks, who had mutual interest in working out a deal, according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson. The trade rumors have ended, with the Seahawks now heading into training camp with few other quarterback options out there.
Who Else Could the Seahawks Make a Move for at QB?
With Mayfield no longer available as a trade target, the Seahawks have very few options if they want to find another starting-caliber quarterback before training camp begins.
The biggest name remaining in a possible trade is San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. With the 49ers hoping to see what former third overall pick Trey Lance can do under center, trade rumors have swirled all offseason around Jimmy G. Like Mayfield, Garoppolo is hoping to find a team where he could remain a full-time starter.
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Seattle could be a possible destination, but a trade within the division is highly unlikely. ESPN analyst Lou Riddick believes that the Seahawks would be aggressive in pursuing Garoppolo if the 49ers were to cut him, but San Francisco general manager John Lynch is likely hoping to get some kind of compensation for the quarterback that made multiple deep playoff runs in the Bay Area.
The Seahawks could always try and make a trade for a player on the hot seat like Daniel Jones or Sam Darnold, but at the moment there are few (if any) trade rumors surrounding other notable quarterbacks.
Who Will Start at QB If a Trade Doesn’t Happen?
Heading into training camp, the Seahawks only have three quarterbacks on their 90-man roster. Jacob Eason is likely to only be an emergency backup, leaving Drew Lock and Geno Smith to compete for the starting job.
Smith has been with the team since 2019, serving as the backup to Russell Wilson before he was traded to the Denver Broncos. Although Smith was a disappointment as a second-round pick with the New York Jets, Smith established himself as a solid backup in Seattle. Playing in four games last season, Smith had a passer rating of 103.0 with five passing touchdowns and just one interception while Wilson was sidelined with a finger injury.
Lock will be facing an uphill battle to become the starter. He led the nation in passing touchdowns in his second to last season with the Missouri Tigers in college, but he hasn’t looked like the same gunslinger at the pro level. Seattle gives him an opportunity to regain his confidence on a new team, especially with weapons like DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Training camp and preseason will give both players a great opportunity to see what they’re made of, and for fans to see who will secure the starting job before Week 1.