Was trading Percy Harvin stupid?

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Just a few days before we brought Sports Monocle screaming into the world, my beloved Seattle Seahawks made a trade that conquered the NFL news cycle for most of the weekend. I was really thisclose to asking Will how he felt about kicking off early just so I could write about it.

Luckily, I’m a very patient man. I’ve had a few days to let it marinate, and as the definitive voice for Seahawk fans who operate half of a sports blog from Asia, I feel an obligation to share my thoughts.

So, was the Percy Harvin trade stupid? Let’s run through the pros and cons from the Seahawks’ perspective.

PRO – The Salary Dump

If you’ve ever heard any of the NFL talking heads on TV, you know that Russell Wilson is the greatest bargain in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. You also know that Russell (he and I will consistently be on a first-name basis on this site) will be eligible to renegotiate his contract after the season, which will undoubtedly result in a rather substantial raise.

What you may not know is all of the other players who will need new contracts around the same time. The players whose contracts will be up at the end of this season include: Cliff Avril, James Carpenter, K.J. Wright, Byron Maxwell, Malcolm Smith, Jermaine Kearse, and Ricardo Lockette.

At the end of next season: Russell Okung, Marshawn Lynch, Brandon Mebane, Bruce Irvin, Zach Miller, Tony McDaniel, Bobby Wagner, Jeremy Lane, J.R. Sweezy, Derrick Coleman, and, of course, Russell Wilson.

Almost all of them are starters. If I didn’t value your time so much, I’d make a case for keeping each and every one of them. Unfortunately, even with Harvin gone, the Seahawks probably won’t be able to keep them all.

Still, Harvin leaving will help.  Pro Football Talk did a good job of summing up the financial details.  Would I choose Harvin over someone like Wagner or Wright?

Nope.

CON – The Seahawks Look Stupid

The Seahawks gave up first and seventh round picks in 2013 and a third round pick in 2014 for Harvin. He played in only eight of a potential 24 games. He didn’t even finish two of those eight games.  Look at his stats as a Seahawk.  That’s a whole lot to give up for not much in return.

Speaking of returns (yeah, segues!) Harvin did have a kick return touchdown and was the Seahawks’ leading rusher in the Super Bowl.  I am forever grateful for that.  But, overall, he didn’t do a whole lot in his Seahawks tenure.

They also lost a bunch of Paul Allen’s money, though that’s kind of like a beach losing a bucket of sand.

Bottom line: the Seahawks took a huge loss in the trade and it looks like the Vikings PLAYED THEM LIKE A DAMN FIDDLE.

It wasn’t as stupid as the Charlie Whitehurst trade.  That trade seemed dumb at the time and seems dumber every day.  At least the Harvin trade had a high ceiling.

Not that that makes me feel better.  The Vikings fleeced the Seahawks.  Time to peruse the 2013 and 2014 NFL Drafts to day dream about players who could be Seahawks now.

While we’re on the subject of fleecing…

CON – What the Seahawks Got for Harvin

Word is, it’s a conditional sixth round pick that could turn into a fourth.  Yikes.  This is only a miniature gripe, though.  I don’t know what other offers they got and from what other teams.  I’d rather the trade have gone down like it did than Seattle shipping him to the 49ers for a first rounder.  Plus, the Jets are one of the worst teams in the league, so the pick will probably be early in whatever round it ends up being.

Still, I was shocked that the Seahawks got so little for him after giving up so much.

PRO – Percy’s…”Percynality” is Somewhere Else

Teehee.  But seriously, by all accounts, Harvin is, at best, a malcontent.  His list of transgressions are detailed in The Seattle Times.  He apparently got in fights with both fellow wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate on separate occasions.  They also claim he refused to re-enter the game in the 4th quarter of last weeks loss to the Cowboys because his feelings were hurt, or something.

Look, the fights I can understand.  Baldwin has a short fuse and has earned the nickname “Angry Doug Baldwin.”  Tate’s not an angel either.  Aside from his various transgressions, with the rumors that Russell Wilson and his wife divorced because she slept with Tate, there’s at least a chance that he’s a scumbag.  Angry guys playing a violent game for a living might fight sometimes.  That’s not a huge deal to me.

But really, not entering the game in the 4th quarter because you don’t want to?  What are you, five?  How does that help anything?

Harvin and I are the same age, and I can’t fathom how someone can be alive this long and be that immature.  I imagine his coaches didn’t take too kindly to it, either.  That’s not the kind of player I want to cheer for.

CON – A Jaw Dropping Tidbit About Darrell Bevell 

Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has taken some heat recently (deservedly so, in my opinion, though that’s a rant for another time) and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com said something that ought to turn it up a bit.

“Plus, on the field, he’s a player you have to game-plan for every single game,” Rapoport said. “He’s not like any other player, he’s a slot receiver, he’s a running back, he’s all sorts of things. And for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, getting him involved in the game was something that was not always easy.”

So…he was too versatile for Bevell to find a way to use him effectively?  My reaction to that is going to require the use of some exclamation points.

Then why the hell did you trade for him?!  You had four years (54 games!) of NFL game tape on him before he came to Seattle!  YOU COACHED HIM YOURSELF WHEN YOU WERE BOTH IN MINNESOTA IN 2009 AND 2010!!!!  And you’re telling me you didn’t already have a plan for how to use him?!

I know this con isn’t about the trade itself, but because of the trade, this was brought to my attention.  And…wow.  I really hope it’s not true.

PRO – Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood

The two rookie receivers were drafted in the second and fourth rounds, respectively.  Richardson has been used sparingly.  Norwood hasn’t been used at all.  It’ll be nice to see them get some more action.

CON – Kick Returns

It will be a shame to lose him on special teams.  Looks like Bryan Walters is the new kick returner.  Could be worse, I guess.  At least the Seahawks are probably the first team to ever turn over all return duties to a white guy from Cornell.

PRO – Seattle Looked Okay Without Him

Seattle may have lost yesterday, but it wasn’t because of a lack of offensive production.  It had more to do with the Rams coaches playing chess while the Seahawks coaches played Candy Land.  Russell is now the only player to ever throw for 300 yards and fun for 100 yards in the same game, and Harvin wasn’t on the field for that.  That’s encouraging.

Final Thoughts

When the news broke, I was absolutely stunned.  I didn’t know what to say.  I thought the Seahawks could at least get a big haul for him.  It just didn’t make sense.  Then the reasons why he was traded started to trickle out.  I read about the fights and his childish behavior.  I thought about the cap space.  I weighed all the aforementioned pros and cons.  Then I realized the ultimate con.

Percy Harvin made a fool of me.

I was all in on the Percy Harvin era.  I own a Seahawks mini-helmet he signed.  I talked him up whenever I got the chance.  When he had his hip surgery and missed the season, I still talked him up.  Even when he returned for one game last season to face his old team, then mysteriously disappeared again, I defended him.  I argued that he wasn’t injury prone.  I imagined him being the spark the created an unstoppable pick-your-poison offense with Russell and Marshawn.  There are people I know who are going to smugly ask me about the Harvin trade the next time I see them, and I don’t know what I’m going to say.

Percy Harvin is a bad memory.  He’s an unfulfilled promise.  He’s a mini-helmet I have to look at and silently shake my head and wonder would might have been.

Now, he’s somebody else’s problem.

Good.

THE VERDICT: Not Stupid



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