Why one Browns reporter thinks Seahawks will acquire Baker Mayfield

Mar 25, 2022, 11:24 AM | Updated: 5:25 pm

Seahawks QB Baker Mayfield...

Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns warms during a game against the Baltimore Ravens. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The possibility of a Baker Mayfield trade to the Seahawks remains very much alive according to one Cleveland Browns reporter.

Seahawks GM John Schneider addresses Metcalf, exploding WR market

Zac Jackson of The Athletic joined Jake and Stacy on Seattle Sports Station Thursday to talk about Mayfield’s tenure in Cleveland, what led to the expected split between team and player, and when – not if – he thinks Mayfield could be traded to the Seahawks.

“You could say (he’s being actively shopped around), but right now there’s only one potential suitor and that’s the Seattle Seahawks,” Jackson said about Mayfield’s status. “Could that change after the draft? Yes. There may be a surprise team, it’s the NFL. But right now, doing the math, it looks like the Seahawks are the only realistic suitor for Baker.”

Jackson noted Cleveland would absorb nearly $19 million in dead cap were they to cut Mayfield, which eliminates the possibility of other teams adding him as a free agent and makes it a near certainty that if the Browns are to move on, it’ll be via trade.

And that trade will likely be sooner – this offseason, or shortly after the draft – rather than later. The Browns have found their next starter, making a controversial trade for ex-Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson, and will be looking to unload Mayfield’s contract. They’re also reportedly eager to move on to someone they feel is more mature, and that reported frustration with Mayfield’s immaturity has simultaneously made him a more affordable and a riskier option.

“He’s very prickly, he’s very in your face, he tells you what he thinks,” Jackson explained when asked about Mayfield’s off-the-field persona. While the former No. 1 pick was embraced overall by fans in Cleveland, he’s had a more tenuous relationship with media.

“The chip on the shoulder that carried him this far also becomes exhausting,” Jackson said. “At some point, you’re the No. 1 pick in the draft, you’re not the plucky underdog. At some point you’re a franchise quarterback and you have to act like an adult and be politically correct, rather than be in your face all the time. He needs to sign off social media, he can’t. He needs to tone it down in general, he can’t. Baker Mayfield will be remembered fondly in Cleveland for a long time. He was one of the faces, if not the face, of a Browns turnaround from, statistically, the worst three years in the history of pro football. But the Browns decided that he wasn’t going to be their guy… (and) the Baker Mayfield experience is exhausting. It just is.”

Mayfield’s blunt personality isn’t new, but it’s also accompanied strong play. The former No. 1 overall pick finished his career at Oklahoma ranked second all-time in FBS history in passing efficiency rating.

The roots of his chip-on-the-shoulder mentality make sense, considering he was the first ever walk-on player to win a Heisman trophy. In his first year with Cleveland, he set an NFL record for touchdowns by a rookie quarterback (27; a total later surpassed by Justin Herbert) and by 2020 had led the team to their first playoff victory since 1994.

“He can make every throw,” Jackson said. “He’s won games. He’s way more talented than a lot of guys who hang around this league for a long time. He’s getting traded now for a fifth-round pick because he’s a pain in the ass.”

He’s also been inconsistent and dealt with an injury last season. And while acquiring Mayfield means bringing on a polarizing personality who will have just one year remaining on his rookie deal, there’s also an upside that Jackson thinks the Seahawks recognize.

“I do think they’re going to get him,” Jackson said. “I think there’s no other option. I think it’ll be low cost. I think (Seahawks personnel executive and former Browns vice president of football operations) Alonzo Highsmith’s vote will carry a lot. I think he’s better than Drew Lock – I know he’s better than Drew Lock – so I think after the draft this will go down. I don’t think it’ll go down now because why would the Seahawks tip their hand in the draft? Having the ninth pick, it just makes no sense. I think you’ll see flashes of a quarterback that can win games and potentially be the guy. How does it play out and does he stay healthy? We’ll find out.”

Salk: 6 reasons Seahawks should give Kaepernick a look

Stacy Rost

Chicago White Sox Luis Robert Seattle Mariners 2024...

Stacy Rost

Rost: Six bats that are potential trade fits for Mariners’ lineup

Stacy Rost takes a look at six potential hitters who would be ideal fits for the Seattle Mariners to target at the trade deadline.

4 days ago

Seattle Mariners Scott Servais Julio Rodríguez...

Stacy Rost

Rost: The two things about first-place Mariners’ season that are baffling

Seattle Sports' Stacy Rost digs into the two most prevalent answers Seattle Mariners fans had to a question about what's most confusing about this season.

16 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Leonard Williams...

Stacy Rost

Rost: Seahawks’ change to defensive spending reflects new philosophy

Why insight from a Seattle Seahawks assistant highlights how a change in investment on the defensive side of the ball could pay off.

18 days ago

Seattle Mariners trade target Vladimir Guerrero Jr....

Stacy Rost

What will make an uncomfortable Seattle Mariners trade worth it?

The Seattle Mariners are expected to be a major player at the MLB trade deadline. Stacy Rost dives into the possibilities and two trade truths.

1 month ago

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford...

Stacy Rost

How could first-place Mariners address their need for offense?

Stacy Rost of Seattle Sports' Bump and Stacy details the silver linings for the first-place Mariners, but also their need to get more offense.

1 month ago

Seattle Mariners Luke Raley...

Stacy Rost

Rost on Mariners: What we’ve learned a quarter through the season

Just over a quarter of the way into 2024, the Seattle Mariners are 24-20. What have we learned? Stacy Rost breaks down a few things.

2 months ago

Why one Browns reporter thinks Seahawks will acquire Baker Mayfield