Despite shooting down trade rumors, there continues to be a buzz that the Seattle Seahawks are monitoring the situation in Cleveland with disgruntled quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that both the Seahawks and Panthers have not “ruled out” a deal for Mayfield but described the negotiations as remaining “stuck in a holding pattern.”
“The Panthers and Seahawks still haven’t ruled out acquiring Mayfield, but they’ll need the Browns to take on a much greater portion of his contract than they’ve offered so far,” Howe wrote on May 20, 2022. “It’s unclear how far apart the sides have been, but the Browns want their contractual intake to be commensurate with the asset they receive in return.
“The Browns don’t have much, if any, negotiating leverage, and the Panthers and Seahawks are using that to their advantage. As a fifth-year player, Mayfield’s minimum base salary would be $1.035 million, which means the Browns could eat as much as $17.823 million in a trade. The Panthers and Seahawks are obviously pushing for something closer to that number.”
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The Browns Are ‘Daring’ the Seahawks to Stick With Lock & Smith
Reading the tea leaves from the Seahawks’ public remarks, Seattle appears to only be interested in Mayfield if he is released, and the team can set the terms of his new deal. Things could change if the Browns opt to eat a significant portion of Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary. At the same time, the Browns are “daring” the Seahawks to start the season with Drew Lock and Geno Smith as their only viable options for a starting quarterback.
“If they do release him — absorbing the full $18.858 million and really only netting a roster spot — they’ve got to believe the Panthers or Seahawks would have to pay him more than $1.035 million, which is part of their leverage play,” Howe added.
“The Browns are also daring the Seahawks (Drew Lock and Geno Smith) and Panthers (Sam Darnold and Corral) to roll with their current QBs. With Mayfield still rehabbing his surgically repaired left shoulder, his inability to currently practice has probably tempered the urgency to acquire him to foster a quarterback competition.
“Therefore, everyone remains stuck in a holding pattern.”
The Seahawks Are Unlikely to Engage in ‘Bidding War’ for Mayfield
Even if Mayfield is released, there is no guarantee the quarterback would sign with the Seahawks as they would still likely be competing with other teams, such as the Panthers, who also have a question mark at quarterback. The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta labeled the Panthers as Mayfield’s most likely destination, even if the quarterback is released. The Seahawks insider added that Seattle is unlikely to engage in a “bidding war” for Mayfield if he is cut.
“The consensus is that Carolina remains Mayfield’s most likely destination if he is released,” Condotta noted on May 20. “The Panthers have twice as much cap space as the Seahawks and have been aggressively pursuing quarterbacks all offseason. The guess here is that the Seahawks wouldn’t get involved in a bidding war for Mayfield. But if Mayfield is there for the taking, then sure, I can see the Seahawks being interested.”