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Report: Seahawks Would Sign Baker Mayfield If Browns Opt to Cut Him

With the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position for the Seahawks, Mayfield may still be the answer - on one condition.

Since the second the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to the Broncos, questions have been flying about the future at the quarterback position for the franchise both short and long-term.

Acquired in the Wilson trade, Drew Lock will compete with veteran Geno Smith to start in Week 1 against his former team. However, his lack of success and inability to sustain a starting job in Denver leaves a lot to be desired.

During the offseason thus far, the Seahawks have only addressed the position by re-Smith to square off with Lock for the starting job. Despite making nine selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, they chose not to pick a quarterback this year, which general manager John Schneider attributed to the way things fell on the draft board more than anything.

“It's hard for rookies,” Schneider told reporters after the conclusion of day two of the draft. “It's very hard on rookies to come in here and you have to have unique, unique qualities. We talked about it last night, or the night before. Sorry, getting these confused. But it just, continuously throughout the draft we, it didn't, it just didn't fall the right way for one reason or another."

Based on where the quarterbacks were selected, the decision to pass on them with the early picks was a smart one. Of course, whether they made the right call passing on a signal caller won't truly be answered for years.

With questions at the position remaining and both Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo still available via trade, the rumor mill keeps swirling. On Thursday, a source told Cleveland.com that the Seahawks would sign Mayfield if he was released.

From Seattle's perspective, this report poses an interesting question: if he does become a late cap casualty, would signing Mayfield be wise?

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The idea of Mayfield to the Seahawks has been floating around since Wilson got dealt and the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson from the Texans. Not only was there a fit and opening for a starting quarterback, he had some fans in the building. One of them was Alonzo Highsmith, who ended up leaving for his alma mater to be the general manager of football operations at Miami.

But just because Highsmith left unexpectedly doesn’t mean that the door is closed for Mayfield to come to the Pacific Northwest either.

There is a lot to like with Mayfield, but contextualizing him is the key to figuring out if he is worth signing. The former first overall selection was taken there for a reason. He has a cannon for an arm, a true gunslinger mentality, and enough athleticism to make plays outside of structure. His rookie season started off with a bang, leading the Browns to their first win in nearly two years with a come-from-behind victory over the Jets. He finished the year with 27 touchdowns and a staggeringly high PFF grade of 83.2. 2019 was viewed as a lost year with Kitchens having run the team into the ground.

2020 saw a genesis with Mayfield, however. New coach Kevin Stefanski brought with him a friendly offense. The wide zone has been known to hide deficiencies with quarterbacks, but has also shown to maximize the talents of those with big arms. In posting a career-high 85.2 PFF grade, Mayfield threw 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Still, there were a lot of questions surrounding him. He crumbled under pressure too often and would make disaster-type throws.

Sure enough, last year told a different story. Mayfield tore the labrum in his left shoulder midway through the schedule and ended up having the worst season of his short career. Pair that with the drama surrounding the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. and there are far more questions than answers about his future.

With those concerns in consideration and his hefty $18-plus million salary for 2022, it shouldn't be surprising Seattle hasn't been willing to trade anything to Cleveland for him. But he has played at a very high level in the league in spurts and possesses talent worthy of being the first overall pick.

Ultimately, bringing Mayfield on board will come down to whether or not the Seahawks believe they can harness his playing ability while minimizing his ego issues. For now, he's under contract with the Browns, so nothing remains imminent. But if he is cut and hits the market, a signing would speak volumes on what they think of state of their quarterback room with Lock and Smith headlining the group currently.