One NFL team frequently floated in the Baker Mayfield trade rumors is reportedly out of the picture.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and sports talk show host Pat McAfee discussed the situation surrounding the Cleveland Browns QB as the team looks for a trade to split with the disgruntled Baker.
Speaking on Mayfield’s potential landing spots, Rapoport focused on the Seattle Seahawks — a name frequently floated as a trade suitor — to declare that his sources claim there’s no interest “at all” from the Seahawks to trade for Mayfield.
Rapoport had no qualms with shutting down Seattle as a rumored landing spot.
“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.”
As recently as June 22, the Seahawks were considered to hold a “high-level of interest” in Mayfield and improving a QB depth chart doomed to feature either Geno Smith or Drew Lock as its starter.
After the Browns acquired and signed Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the clock began to tick for Cleveland to find trade value for the headstrong Mayfield.
Seattle, on the other hand, will allow Lock and Smith to duke it out in the offseason for the start.
“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 noted.
“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.”
The only (apparent) certainty from the trade speculation is Baker’s eventual exit out of Cleveland, which the QB has verbally requested.
As Watson likely faces suspension in the upcoming year due to ongoing allegations of sexual misconduct, Cleveland will need to be savvy in trade negotiations to receive a capable backup in exchange for Mayfield with Jacoby Brissett remaining as the best option at starter if Watson and Baker are gone.
Even if a full slate of Browns games presents themselves to Baker, based on a Watson suspension, he has remained adamant about starting anew on a team that prioritizes him on the depth chart.
One of those teams could be the Carolina Panthers.
With new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo calling the plays, a welcomed departure from the clunky offense from former OC Joe Brady, and Sam Darnold still unable to play like a consistent starter, the Panthers QB situation may shape up as the best scenario for Mayfield, now with Seattle seemingly out of the picture.
Rapoport told McAfee:
“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.
“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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