The truth about Seattle’s interest in Brown’s quarterback Baker Mayfield remains confused, and that may be exactly how the Seahawks and/or the Browns want it.
On Tuesday afternoon, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said the Seahawks have never had a strong interest in Baker Mayfield. On Tuesday night, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who recently reported that the Seahawks are still a a lot of interest in Mayfielddisagreed with Rapoport’s characterization, calling it “inaccurate†
When the Seahawks are interested, they do everything they can to keep it from becoming as obvious as, say, the Panthers’ interest in Mayfield. Carolina and Cleveland had trade talks during the draft. Negotiations fell apart over the respective portions of Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary that the Browns and Panthers would pay. More recent reports indicated that interest isn’t dead even after the Panthers pulled the plug during the draft and chose Matt Corral.
Seattle, which spent months trying to mislead everyone about whether Russell Wilson would be traded, may be doing the same here, trying to give the impression that they aren’t interested, despite being interested in an upgrade from Geno Smith and the US Opens. new favorite punching bag, Drew Lock. Keeping it quiet makes sense for several reasons. They want to get Mayfield as cheap as possible, both in design choices and compensation. With no one else ready to pull the trigger, and with the odds that the Browns and Mayfield coexist somewhere south of smart, the Browns need two viable suitors to get the best possible deal they can.
Over the weekend, we tried to identify the entire 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 keep Mayfield if they lose Deshaun Watson all season, 11 teams should at least think about it.
It is a combination of chess, checkers and chicken. Someone will eventually make the switch. The Seahawks may just be waiting for the right time to do so, preserving plausible deniability in the event that it doesn’t. In their first season after Russ, they can’t afford to give the impression that they don’t believe in Smith or Lock if they can’t get Mayfield. But they still don’t want Mayfield enough to make it happen and move on.
As the clock ticks toward the start of training camp, something has to happen. Mayfield doesn’t seem inclined to accept an excused absence from camp as the Browns wait for a quarterback to get injured and for someone to cough up 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 get it done so he can start the process of learning a new attack and a new team and a new coaching staff and a new everything, to have the kind of season that will land him a new contract.
Will it be Seattle? Will it be another team that has spent the slow time studying game film and OTA tape and wondering whether Mayfield gives them a better chance of winning as many games as possible in 2022?
It can happen at any time. It has to be done quickly or else an awkward situation between the Browns and Mayfield could turn downright bitter.
That could be what the Seahawks are counting on. That the Browns will cut and run to avoid another distraction in an off season with more than a few of them.
Anyway, if anyone else really believes in Mayfield, and if Mayfield is all in with that team, they should just do it. If it works, the extra stuff they have to hand in through trade compensation or salary won’t matter. If they wait too long, it will be harder to make it work — and they may not get it at all.
Yes, Detroit Lions, I am speaking directly to you.