NFL executives expect both Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo to be fired before the season begins, potentially giving the Seattle Seahawks an opportunity to pick multiple starting quarterbacks. Heavy has already explored the idea of adding Garoppolo, but the rumor in the NFL is that Mayfield would sign with the Seahawks after his release. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported that a straw poll of NFL executives named the Seahawks favorites to land Mayfield, while Garoppolo is expected to move to the Panthers if both players are ultimately axed.
“The majority of people I spoke to for this story believe both players are likely to be fired,” Graziano wrote on June 10, asking for a pay cut or spread over a few years.
“The most popular target for Garoppolo among those I spoke to was the Panthers. The favorite landing spot for Mayfield in our straw poll was the Seahawks. They don’t seem interested in trading for him, but if he’s released they could sign him to a low-cost deal and, after trading with Russell Wilson, put him in a quarterback room that also includes Geno Smith and Drew Lock. ”
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The Browns continue to insist they have no plans to release Mayfield and will hold the quarterback until a trading partner is found. Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary is guaranteed, and the Browns will have to pay most of the money even if the quarterback is fired.
NFL front office members aren’t buying Cleveland’s tough stance, even as evidence mounts pointing to a possible suspension of Deshaun Watson. The Browns excused Mayfield from their upcoming mandatory minicamp, revealing that the team has no plans to use Mayfield in a temporary QB1 role even if Watson is forced to miss games. Cleveland lost whatever clout they had when the team traded for Jacoby Brissett, who the franchise has anointed as a backup behind Watson.
The Browns could be looking to strike a midseason deal with Mayfield after a team potentially loses its starting quarterback to injury, but it’s far from ideal with the storyline dragging into the fall. According to Graziano, the “overwhelming majority” of his league sources believe the Browns’ relationship with Mayfield is “unsalvageable.”
“The problem is that it doesn’t sound like the relationship between Mayfield and the Browns is salvageable,” Graziano explained. “Of the people I spoke to for this story, the overwhelming majority believed Mayfield would never play for the Browns again.
“‘He’s done with them and they’re done with him,’ a source said. ‘That was true when he found out they were trying to trade for Deshaun.'”
The Seahawks have shown no sense of urgency in acquiring Mayfield or any other quarterback while expressing confidence in both Drew Lock and Geno Smith. Likewise, Cleveland refuses to hit the panic button by cutting Mayfield without receiving compensation in exchange for the former No. 1. If both teams persist, it could result in neither franchise being happy with the end result of their decisions.