Was chemistry at heart of surprising Percy Harvin deal?
Seattle Seahawks brass didn’t give an immediate explanation about why wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded to the New York Jets for a conditional draft choice.
But the team’s radio analyst and former quarterback shared some insight Friday night on why such a blockbuster move was made – and it doesn’t reflect well on Harvin.
"One thing (head coach) Pete Carroll wants is great chemistry on the field as well as off the field," Warren Moon told co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "They had a tough time trying to figure out how to fit Percy Harvin and his skill set into what they already do as a philosophy offensively with Marshawn Lynch running the football and their play-action game. And then there was a little bit of a chemistry problem within the locker room at times with Percy because he’s a different type of guy.
"I think the combination made it to where he was expendable."
Other knocks on Harvin have surfaced since FOX Sports 1 NFL Insider Jay Glazer first reported the trade. The Seattle Times and KBME-AM radio in Houston reported that Harvin was involved in two separate fistfights with teammates in 2014.
"Pete is really, really big on chemistry and everybody feeling comfortable with one another," Moon said. "I think that’s why this team has been so successful the last three years. They’ve really had a great camaraderie, and they didn’t want to do anything to disrupt that."
The Seattle Times also reported that Harvin "balked" at re-entering the game during the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s 30-23 loss to Dallas. The Cowboys had stymied Harvin by holding him to no gain on three receptions and a loss of 1 yard on three carries.
Harvin, who has not made a public comment since the trade, did appear Thursday on Seattle’s injury report with a thigh problem. Harvin was still expected to play Sunday for Seattle against St. Louis until he was dealt.
The Seahawks traded multiple draft picks, including a first-rounder, to Minnesota for Harvin in March 2013 and signed him to a six-year, $67 million contract. Despite missing almost all of last season following hip surgery, Harvin made a huge impact in Seattle’s Super Bowl 48 victory over Denver with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well as two carries for 45 yards. Harvin also played a major role in helping Seattle rout Green Bay in the 2014 season-opener.
But whatever vision the Seahawks had for Harvin on offense never fully materialized for the club or him. Harvin had 22 receptions for 133 yards this season, which was translating to what would easily be the lowest per-catch average (6.0) of his six-year NFL career.
"You don’t just try to fit a square peg in a round hole," said Moon, a Pro Football Hall of Fame member. "At times, that’s what they were trying to do with Percy Harvin."
In light of all these issues, Moon said Harvin’s contract became a factor as well. Quarterback Russell Wilson leads the list of Seahawks players who have outplayed their current deals and are in line for lucrative extensions. Seattle will clear at least $5.7 million in salary-cap space for 2015 by trading Harvin.
Moon said he expects rookie wide receivers Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood to receive more playing time following Harvin’s departure although their immediate impact may be nominal. Richardson has caught one pass for 7 yards as a reserve through the first five games. Norwood, who dealt with a preseason foot injury, hasn’t been activated for a game this season.
"(The Seahawks) really feel like both of those young ones can be big contributors down the line to go along with Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette and the rest of the (receivers) they have," Moon said.
The SiriusXM NFL Radio interview by Alex Marvez and co-host Gil Brandt with Warren Moon can be heard here.