Theories about Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield’s next landing spot continue to circulate through the world wide web.
Pairings for the 2018 No. 1 draft pick continue to be thrown around for franchises in need of their next star quarterback after Mayfield’s very public breakup with the Cleveland club. Places like the Panthers and the Seahawks have made the shortlist for internet sleuths as potential courtships. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was asked about these rumors—specifically about Seattle—in an appearance Tuesday on The Pat McAfee Show.
To the dismay of some, the NFL insider does not believe Mayfield will end up on the Seahawks’ roster. In fact, the team seemed to never really be interested in the former Oklahoma standout in the first place, he says.
“There’s a couple of times a year when this happens where you get an internet rumor that kind of takes on a life of its own,” Rapoport said. “And believe me, I always check, and I have heard nothing to corroborate Baker to the Seahawks at all. And like, I don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of all of this, like maybe this guy announces he’s trolling us, but like, it seems crazy to me but they have never really been that interested in Baker.”
Rapoport says this is because of the impending quarterback battle set to take place during Seattle training camp between Geno Smith and Drew Lock. In one corner there is Smith: Seahawks backup since 2020, starting in three of four appearances while former quarterback Russell Wilson was out with a finger injury, finishing 2021 with 702 yards and five touchdowns. In the other, Lock: acquired by Seattle from the Broncos via blockbuster Wilson trade, capped the 2021 season with three starts in six appearances that totaled 787 yards and two touchdowns.
“What they have wanted is a Drew Lock vs. Geno Smith battle and like, talking about training camp, training camps can be a grind and like, sometimes not that exciting despite football being back,” Rapoport said. “That is going to be a fascinating training camp because we are going to see them like literally battle it out on the field and I don’t know which way it’s going to go, it seems like Geno has a little bit of a leg up now. But, that’s going to be a fun battle.”
Though it seems Mayfield won’t be a part of that particular battle, he most likely will also not be a part of whatever quarterback plans the Browns make in the 2022 season. Cleveland awaits the decision from independent arbitrator Sue Robinson on what will happen with quarterback Deshaun Watson next season. With suspension looming, the Browns could be scrambling to find a signal-caller on par with their $230 million quarterback or the discarded Mayfield.
On the prospect of playing with the team that drafted him again, Mayfield gave the classic post-breakup pleasantries, saying, “it’s been obvious the mutual decision on both sides is to move on,” though he is “thankful for [his] four years in Cleveland.”
So, where to next?
“I mean, it seems like he wants to be gone, which I know it sounds dumb obviously but like, we don’t know who the starting quarterback for Week 1 is going to be for the Browns, so like, in a different universe, Baker could be like ‘Alright well I’ll just stay here and start for however many games, and we’ll see what happens with Deshaun Watson.’ But he doesn’t want that,” Rapoport said. “He still wants to be out, you know obviously, it’s been the Carolina Panthers that’ve been most aggressive. I know some people thought a deal might happen by the end of minicamp but did not. So we’ll see as we get closer to camp if things pick back up. Like if a trade is going to happen, it’s probably going to happen before training camp at some point. That seems the most likely if he’s traded. We still just don’t know if he’s going to be traded.”
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