One of the biggest discussions of the offseason has been where Baker Mayfield will play this season. Each week, there are new updates on whether or not the Cleveland Browns want to trade him or if a team like the Carolina Panthers or Seattle Seahawks are genuinely interested in his services.
According to The Athletic's Jeff Howe, the situation is currently in a "holding pattern" while the Panthers and Seahawks bide their time. They are waiting to see whether or not the Browns are willing to take on a much greater portion of Mayfield's $18.9 million salary that he's guaranteed this season.
It's no secret that after acquiring Deshaun Watson, the Browns are trying to move on from Mayfield. The only problem is, it's hard to trade him due to his contract. Following the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season, the Browns picked up Mayfield's fifth-year option, which guarantees him all of the $18.9 million he's set to earn this season.
After a season of decline and playing with a partially torn labrum, other teams don't think Mayfield is worth the $18.8 million that he's due this season. The Browns will likely have to take on the majority of that contract in order to facilitate a trade for the quarterback.
The Browns could also just hold on to him as insurance against Watson's potential suspension as the Browns wait for the conclusion of the NFL's investigation.
Baker Mayfield and the Seahawks current quarterback room
As it stands, the Seattle quarterback room consists of Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason. Head coach Pete Carroll said that in the team’s quarterback competition Smith is ahead of both because he has experience in the system after spending the last couple of seasons in Seattle.
While it sounds like it's Smith's job to lose, Carroll spoke to reporters on Monday, talking up Drew Lock and saying he's hanging with Geno throughout the competition.
“Geno really has the package nailed, so I have that to gauge him on. He’s hanging with Geno throughout all of this. We’re not holding anything back.”
This will be Smith's fourth season in Seattle and he appeared in four games last season while starting in three, going 1-2. Lock started three games for the Denver Broncos last season and went 0-3.
Realistically, Mayfield is an upgrade on all of these quarterbacks and it seems strange that Seattle have not made a move for the former number-one-pick.
Whether the Seahawks are planning to enter the season with Smith or Lock is unclear, but it could be that they are playing a patient negotiation game with the Browns. We will have to wait and see how the situation develops.