49ers news: 4 storylines to watch in wake of Baker Mayfield trade

Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers storyline No. 3: Seahawks to make a play for… Sam Darnold?

We can’t just stick with Jimmy Garoppolo storylines in the wake of Baker Mayfield’s trade. But we can see how the ripple effects can still hit San Francisco in other ways.

This one, in particular, would be quite the kicker.

As was the case with Mayfield earlier this offseason, incumbent Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold now finds himself in a lame-duck situation, and Carolina would love to move the $18.86 million owed to him in 2022 somehow. Per Over the Cap, a straight-up release would still cost almost that entire amount in dead money at this point in the offseason, but a trade would free up all of it.

Hey, Seattle Seahawks, are you interested?

The Hawks are effectively the only team remaining in the NFL in clear need of an upgrade under center, and neither Geno Smith nor Drew Lock are plausible solutions at the position. With Smith costing $3 million and Seattle having just over $16 million in cap space, engineering a low-end trade for Darnold certainly would be a possibility.

It’s highly doubtful, but it’s interesting to think about.

And the 49ers would relish the chance to face Darnold twice in 2022 after having to square off against now-Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson two times a season for the last decade.