Seahawks trade WR Harvin after he likely wore out his welcome
The only thing speedier than Percy Harvin in uniform is how fast the wide receiver wore out his welcome in Seattle.
Roughly 19 months after his ballyhooed arrival, the Seahawks had enough. As first reported by FOX Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer, Harvin was traded Friday afternoon to the New York Jets for a conditional draft choice.
Few — if any — players in league history were ditched by a franchise so quickly after such a large investment was made. The Seahawks sent multiple picks to Minnesota — including a first-rounder — for Harvin in March 2013 and then signed him to a six-year, $67 million contract extension with $25.5 million guaranteed.
The fact he’s now gone speaks volumes for how much Harvin had fallen out of favor.
Harvin has had a disappointing season, bad luck — he had three TDs called back by penalties in Week 5 — and a thigh injury that had him questionable for this weekend. But this likely wasn’t a performance or health issue. It was a case of Harvin no longer fitting into the team fabric for various behind-the-scenes reasons.
Harvin got into altercation with then-Seahawks WR Golden Tate before Super Bowl XLVIII that left Tate with black eye, according to multiple reports. Harvin also reportedly asked out of Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys and refused to go back in when coaches asked him to play.
The Vikings felt the same way about Harvin. That’s why a player with Harvin’s ample talent was available in the 2013 offseason.
As much as this deal blew up in their faces, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider deserve credit for this: They know when something isn’t working and take steps to fix it instead of refusing to act because it would acknowledge a mistake was made.
One previous example of this involved Matt Flynn. Rather than feel compelled to start Flynn at quarterback entering the 2012 season because he was signed to a three-year, $20 million free-agent contract, the Seahawks held an open competition for the starting job. Russell Wilson won the battle and Flynn was gone a year later.
The Jets must believe Harvin will change his spots or gel better with Rex Ryan than Carroll, who also carries the moniker of being a “player’s coach.” The move also reeks of some desperation by Jets general manager John Idzik. His refusal to sign more veterans in free agency despite having ample salary-cap space has left Ryan in the lurch and contributed to New York’s 1-6 record.
Who knows? Maybe Idzik figures if the trade doesn’t pan out and the Jets keep losing that he won’t have to deal with the fallout because he’ll be fired.
But there’s enough negativity in New York already. This is a reason for Jets fans to celebrate what Idzik did.
Harvin is still in the prime of his career at age 26. He didn’t cost a high draft pick to obtain.
The Jets now have Harvin under contract through the 2018 campaign at roughly $10.4 million a season, which is a reasonable price for what he provides. New York also can cut Harvin without having to take a major cap hit if things don’t work out.
Harvin can do it all as a rusher, receiver and returner. He will give a new meaning to “jet sweep” on misdirection plays. Even when he doesn’t get the carry, opposing defenses still have to account for Harvin. That will create more opportunities for others to succeed.
The Seahawks don’t have anyone who can fill Harvin’s role. I doubt they even try. The most likely scenario has Seattle placing a greater emphasis on its running attack and being more judicious in the passing game like in 2013 when Harvin was out while recovering from hip surgery.
Thanks to his performance helping Seattle win Super Bowl 48, Harvin will forever be part of Seahawks lore. But the Seahawks reached that game without having Harvin available for almost the entire 2013 season.
Carroll and Schneider clearly believe they have a better chance of doing so again with Harvin elsewhere.