The Seattle Seahawks may be in a waiting game with the Cleveland Browns in pursuing a potential move for Baker Mayfield. Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported that the consensus around the NFL is that teams are waiting for Mayfield to be released rather than pursuing a trade for the quarterback.
“Those two issues [salary and offseason shoulder surgery], along with Cleveland trading for Deshaun Watson and signing Jacoby Brissett, have left the Browns with very little leverage on the trade market with Mayfield,” Robinson wrote on March 28, 2022. “So much so that interested teams seem fairly certain that given a long enough timeline this offseason, the Browns are going to end up approaching Mayfield about an outright release in exchange for a restructured salary in 2022, similar to a deal that was worked out with Odell Beckham Jr. last season.
“That deal saved Cleveland $3 million in cap space, while allowing the wideout to pass through waivers and eventually sign with the Los Angeles Rams. Like Beckham Jr. before him, Mayfield would likely go from zero to multiple potential suitors once he doesn’t cost a trade asset or his guaranteed salary for 2022.”
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The Seahawks Held Preliminary Discussions With Mayfield’s Representatives: Report
The Seahawks’ interest level in Mayfield remains to be seen but multiple reports indicate that the team is at least exploring the idea of landing the Browns quarterback. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported on March 21 that “Mayfield’s camp has had preliminary discussions with the Seahawks and Panthers.”
“The Browns have granted Mayfield permission to seek a trade partner since their Friday acquisition of Watson, according to sources,” Howe explained on March 21. “Mayfield, who is recovering from left shoulder surgery, initially preferred to be traded to the Colts, who had the best roster among the QB-needy teams across the league, but that option was taken off the board with the Ryan trade.
“Mayfield’s camp has had preliminary discussions with the Seahawks and Panthers, according to a source. Nothing appears imminent at this point, though. It’s unclear if a deal could take place as early as this week or sometime later in the offseason, but a move is anticipated at some point.”
Howe added that Mayfield “has some advocates in the building” in Seattle. Time will tell whether the quarterback has enough advocates for the Seahawks to be willing to give up any assets in a trade.
NFL Exec: ‘Teams Are Going to Sit Idle and Force Them to Cut Baker’
If the Seahawks choose to wait for Mayfield to be released, the team would be competing with opposing teams to sign the quarterback. Assuming the franchise offered a competitive salary, the Seahawks would be one of the more attractive options given Mayfield would likely be the favorite to beat out Drew Lock in a quarterback competition.
According to Robinson, the Browns will need to eat a good portion of Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary for a trade to have any chance of happening. One NFL executive sees the most likely route being the Browns releasing Mayfield.
“They would have to eat 80 percent [of Mayfield’s salary], but they have already shown their cards,” the exec told Robinson. “Teams are going to sit idle and force them to cut Baker because it’s going to be an odd situation keeping him around.”
It will be worth watching to see if a move with Mayfield is made prior to the draft. The Seahawks may be pushing to wait and see if they are able to land their choice of quarterback in April’s draft before potentially pursuing Mayfield.