STACY ROST

Would Browns QB Baker Mayfield be a good fit for the Seahawks?

Mar 18, 2022, 11:51 AM | Updated: 1:18 pm

Seahawks Baker Mayfield...

Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns reacts during the first half of the game against the Baltimore Ravens. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

For the first time in a decade, the Seahawks are looking for their quarterback of the future, which means for the first time in a decade, they’re also one of the handful of teams in the league whose names are thrown into the running following rumors of unhappiness between quarterbacks and their respective teams.

What do the Seahawks see in new quarterback Drew Lock?

Enter: Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns.

The highly-touted Heisman Trophy winner was seen as the answer for a long-suffering Cleveland fanbase when they selected him first overall in 2018. He threw 27 touchdowns in his rookie season (an NFL record that was broken by Justin Herbert in 2020) and in 2020 he led the Browns to their first playoff win since 1994 with a 48-37 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But he’s never quite ascended to the top ranks among passers and has faced questions about his maturity since 2018.

In 2021, his play on the field dipped: Mayfield played through a shoulder injury and finished with career lows in nearly every passing category.

So why, you must be thinking, would the Seahawks ever be interested in a player who’s been struggling with play on the field and with leadership off of it?

Good question. But, apparently they’ve poked around a bit, and in a Wednesday press conference, the Seahawks made it clear they’re exploring options at quarterback. That’s in addition to Drew Lock, who was acquired during last week’s blockbuster trade with Denver.

One more thing: On Friday, in a stunning turn, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson would waive his no-trade clause to land with Cleveland. Watson posted a photoshopped image of himself in a Browns uniform on Instagram. The Browns will also reportedly give Watson a new deal: a five-year, $230 million contract.

So, Mayfield is on the move. It’s not certain it’ll be to Seattle – The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reports Mayfield would prefer to land with the quarterback-needy Indianapolis Colts – but the Seahawks are an obvious candidate

Ken Carman of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland joined Seattle Sports’ Jake and Stacy Thursday to answer a few questions about a potential trade for Mayfield.

Just quickly walk me through what’s going on in Cleveland…

The relationship between Mayfield and the Browns has been souring for a while and, as is the case with most breakups, there’s no one side who’s solely responsible.

Many wondered about Mayfield’s future with the franchise when the team and its quarterback didn’t agree to a contract extension in the 2021 offseason.

This past month, the Browns were thrown into the list of teams pushing to acquire Deshaun Watson via trade.

On Tuesday, Mayfield took to the Notes app – now it’s serious – and posted what amounted to a thank you and a goodbye to Cleveland.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said the Browns wanted “an adult” at quarterback. And finally, on Thursday, Mayfield requested a trade… and the Browns reportedly denied the request. That was, of course, before the deal for Watson was reported.

“I think there’s been some anger with the organization that he’s 27 years old and he hasn’t taken that next step when it comes to real team leadership,” Carman said of Mayfield. “There’s been a whole lot of ‘I’m reinventing myself; new year, new me,’ and it’s like man, it’s been four years. You’ve got to figure it out at some point here. And I think both sides of kind of gotten weary with one another … He’s just not assumed the leadership role there. And a lot of it has been about him, it’s not been about the team. And I think it’s bothered a lot of guys. I think it’s rubbed them the wrong way.

“From a personal standpoint, fans love him. Recently it’s been a little bit up and down, but fans have really taken to him because we haven’t had a good quarterback here in a very long time. You’re not looking for a quarterback after 30 years; you’re looking for a messiah. And I think people put their lot in with Baker Mayfield.”

Forced to guess, Carman put the odds of the Browns trading Mayfield this offseason at around 75%. That was before the trade for Watson was reported, however. And there are plenty of teams who could be interested, including Detroit, Indianapolis and, yes, Seattle. NFL reporter Josina Anderson has some insight on what the deal could cost:

Mayfield, though, may not be the only quarterback of interest to the Colts as Atlanta’s Matt Ryan could be a viable target.

Would he be a fit for the Seahawks?

In terms of playing style, sure. But the leadership questions give Carman pause when it comes to a team like the Seahawks.

“You’ve told the world he’s not mature. You’ve told the world that,” Carman said. “When you tell people he’s not mature, what do you give up for a guy like that? Because I’m looking at Seattle thinking Pete Carroll, strong leadership. John Schneider, strong leadership. Baker Mayfield? Boy, I don’t know if that’s going to work out the way fans think it’s going to work out … I don’t know about that fit. I just don’t know, covering Baker Mayfield over the last four years.”

So, Cleveland could be without Watson and Mayfield and will be back to the drawing board. You’ve covered a team who’s been searching for their answer at quarterback for a while now. Seattle is just diving in. Tell us about that other side…

“I could talk to you for the rest of your show,” Carman said. “We’re in a division with Joe Burrow and Cincinnati. Cincinnati is not that great. They’re alright – I mean they’ve got some good young players, don’t get me wrong. But they’re still a few years away. Joe Burrow takes them to the next level because he’s that good and he’s that much of a leader. And I think he really put the spotlight on Baker Mayfield. And when you don’t have that guy, it just puts a spotlight on everything that’s wrong with your team.”

“If you have a quarterback, he is the CEO of the franchise,” Carman added. “And I don’t think it’s all Baker Mayfield’s fault. Over four years it is not all his fault. But you’ve got some stuff there that does not end well and will not end well, and I do think it comes down to flat out leadership… I know there’s some Seahawks fans there who have a long memory. I think they’re going to remember some of those days. Because if you don’t have that guy you can trust, it’s going to be rough.”

Listen to the full conversation with Carman at this link or in the player below.

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