The Seattle Seahawks may not be fully out of the Baker Mayfield sweepstakes just yet.
Following the release of undrafted free agent rookie quarterback Levi Lewis, the Seahawks are now left with just three quarterbacks on its roster — Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason.
Seattle’s objective entering training camp was to always feature four quarterbacks on its roster, as head coach Pete Carroll stated during league meetings back in March.
“We are totally in that mentality that the fourth guy may be important to us,” Carroll said. “We’re definitely still in the quarterback business.”
With Lewis out of the equation, the possibility of the Seahawks adding a veteran quarterback is back on the table.
According to a report from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, the Seahawks — along with the Carolina Panthers — are still involved in trade discussions for Mayfield.
“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,” said Howe. “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.”
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It’s clear that the Seahawks still have an interest in acquiring the 27-year-old quarterback, who is just one year removed from leading the Cleveland Browns to their first playoff victory in 26 years.
The two sides remain in a “holding pattern” as Howe describes it. This is in part due to the Browns’ unwillingness to eat a greater portion of Mayfield’s cap hit of $18.9 million combined with the Seahawks’ belief that Cleveland is eager to trade their former franchise quarterback due to the acquisition of Deshaun Watson.
After the Seahawks declined to draft a single quarterback during the 2022 NFL draft, Carroll stressed that Seattle was happy with its current quarterback situation — while making sure to leave the door open on a possible additional acquisition.
“I check out everything that’s possible,” said Carroll. “Right now, I’m really excited about seeing these guys for the first time and we’ll see what happens in the time to come. We’re always competing, we’re always looking.”
“Nothing’s going to change that quick,” he said about the Seahawks’ QB situation. “We’re really happy with the guys we’ve got, to see them battle and we’ll see what happens. “You never know what’s going on down the road. We’re always looking.”
Two things are very clear based upon how the Seahawks have approached this offseason with their current quarterback situation.
For one — in a worst-case scenario — Seattle is perfectly content with entering the season with either holdover Smith or newcomer Lock as its starting quarterback for 2022. That would likely mean a rebuilding year that directly lead to the Seahawks drafting its future franchise QB during the 2023 NFL draft, when prospects such as Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud will be in the mix.
Secondly, as Carroll noted, the Seahawks are still open to adding another quarterback. Based upon Howe’s report, it’s clear Seattle is at least mildly interested in adding Mayfield. However, as CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reported prior to the draft in April, the Seahawks aren’t wild over the idea of adding Mayfield.
With Mayfield still recovering from his surgically repaired left shoulder, it has led to both the Seahawks and Panthers being in no rush to make a deal for the former No. 1 overall pick.
Whether or not a deal for Mayfield gets done will come down to whether or not the Browns are willing to budge on eating a great portion of Mayfield’s salary. As noted by Howe, the minimum salary of a fifth-year player such as Mayfield is $1.035 million. That would be the amount that any NFL team could sign Mayfield for if he were to be released.
With that being said, it’s unlikely Cleveland unloads Mayfield just to clear up a roster spot. The idea also becomes worse considering the Pittsburgh Steelers — the Browns’ division rival — lurks as a possible destination for the embattled quarterback.
It’s obvious the Seahawks are content with entering a rebuilding situation for the 2022 season in order to set up nicely for the 2023 NFL draft.
Another question is, are the Panthers as equally content entering another rebuilding year following two consecutive five-win campaigns by head coach Matt Rhule? Furthermore, do they have enough confidence in third-round pick Matt Corral to eventually take over the starting job?
One could very well argue that the Panthers are more eager to acquire Mayfield than the Seahawks are. While the Seahawks are certainly welcome to the idea of trading for Mayfield, it has to come at the absolute right price.
If Carolina does end up as the more eager team to acquire Mayfield, the Seahawks will likely pass on the idea of trading for the former franchise quarterback.
However, the possibility of Mayfield ending up as the Seahawks’ starting quarterback for the 2022 season is still very realistic.
We’ll see which one of these teams involved with Mayfield ends up budging first.