The truth regarding Seattle’s interest in Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield remains unclear, and that may be exactly what the Seahawks and/or Browns want.
On Tuesday afternoon, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said the Seahawks never had much interest in Baker Mayfield. On Tuesday night, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who recently reported that the Seahawks continue to have a great interest in Mayfieldtook issue with Rapoport’s characterization, calling him “inaccurate.”
If the Seahawks are interested, they do a great job of keeping it from becoming as obvious as, say, the Panthers’ interest in Mayfield. Carolina and Cleveland had trade talks during the draft. Negotiations collapsed over the respective shares of Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary that the Browns and Panthers would pay. More recent reports indicated that interest didn’t die, even after the Panthers pulled the plug during the draft and picked Matt Corral.
Seattle, which has done its best to deceive everyone for months about whether Russell Wilson would be traded, may be doing the same thing here, trying hard to give the impression that they are not interested although they are interested in an upgrade from Geno Smith and the US Open. new favorite punching bag, Drew Lock. It makes sense to keep it quiet, for several reasons. They want to get Mayfield as cheaply as possible, both in terms of draft picks and compensation. With no one else about to pull the trigger, and with the chances of the Browns and Mayfield co-existing somewhere south of slim and none, the Browns need two viable suitors in order to get the best deal possible. .
Over the weekend, we tried to identify the full universe of teams that could or should be interested in Mayfield, as a better option for the best they currently have at the top of the depth chart. Including the Browns, who should absolutely want to keep Mayfield if they lose Deshaun Watson for the full season, 11 teams should at least think about it.
It’s a combination of chess, checkers and chicken. Eventually someone will make the move. The Seahawks can just bide their time to do so, while maintaining plausible deniability in case it doesn’t happen. In their first season after Russ, they can’t afford to look like they don’t believe in Smith or Lock if they can’t get Mayfield. But they still don’t want Mayfield enough to do it and move on.
As time is running out towards the start of training camp, something has to happen. Mayfield doesn’t seem inclined to sit out of camp while the Browns wait for a quarterback to get hurt and someone to spit out a first-round pick and more, like the Vikings did for Sam Bradford in 2016, when Teddy Bridgewater was suddenly lost for the season at the end of August. Mayfield wants to do this, so he can start the process of learning a new offense and a new team and a new coaching staff and a new everything, in order to have the kind of season that will prepare him for a new contract.
Will it be Seattle? Will it be another team that has spent the time studying the game movie and OTA tape and wondering if Mayfield gives them a better chance of winning as many games as possible in 2022?
It can happen at any time. It has to happen soon, or an awkward situation between the Browns and Mayfield could turn downright acrimonious.
That could be what the Seahawks are counting on. May the Browns cut and run to avoid another distraction in an offseason featuring more than a few of them.
Either way, if anyone else really believes in Mayfield, and if Mayfield is all-in with this team, they should just go ahead and do it. If it works, the extra items they have to hand over via trade compensation or salary won’t matter. If they wait too long, it will become harder to make it work – and they might not get it at all.
Yes, Detroit Lions, I’m speaking directly to you.