Monday, March 11, 2013

Instant Reaction: Percy Harvin Traded to the Seahawks

by Jackson Safon

Percy Harvin. There are so many words to describe him. Fast. Electric. Explosive. And so many others. But I do not think his added value to the Seahawks can be understated. The all-purpose receiver was traded today from the Minnesota Vikings to the Seattle Seahawks for a first and seventh round pick this year and a mid-round pick next year (expected to be a third-round choice). While this seems like a lot to give up, I think the Seahawks won the trade without question. Harvin is unbelievably and undeniably talented. I personally think that if he didn't get hurt last year, he would have won the MVP instead of Adrian Peterson. If you look at his numbers through the nine games he played, you will realize what I mean. He had 62 receptions, 677 yards, and three touchdowns receiving, plus one more touchdown returning kicks and one more touchdown rushing the ball. If you pro-rate these stats over an entire season, Harvin would have had 110 catches, 1,203 yards, and seven total touchdowns. Plus, he was on pace for over 2,400 all-purpose yards, which would have lead the league by a mile. Since 2009, Percy Harvin has accounted for 29 total touchdowns: 20 of which came on pass receptions, five of which came on kick returns, and four from rushes. The man is simply unstoppable when you get the ball in his hands. Now it is clear that Harvin’s talent is incredible, but talented players don’t always fit with every team. This will not be the case in his new marriage with Seattle.

Percy Harvin gives Russell Wilson a huge play-maker at the wide receiver position.
AP Photo/Tom Hauck
Seahawk’s offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell coached Harvin in the same position in Minnesota, which were Harvin’s first two years in the league. The knowledge of each other and their styles will be incredibly helpful in getting Harvin integrated into the offense. Even though Russell Wilson and the Seahawk’s passing attack got more and more vertical as the season progressed, a large component of the passing game is short-medium yardage and in the middle of the field. These are the kinds of plays where Percy Harvin does most of his damage, because of his ability to make plays when he has the ball in his hands after the catch. Using him in bubble screens and the short to medium passing game will be where he excels the most, but he has the speed to be a down-field threat as well. For those of you who don’t know, these talks did not just spring up out of the blue, as Harvin was being shopped off and on by the Vikings. These talks were first brought up regarding the Seahawks at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. The ‘Hawks were always thought to be a possible trade partner because of their desire for an explosive receiver, but talks never became serious because of the Vikings management being adamant that they had, “no intention to trade Percy Harvin,” even though the speedy wide receiver had requested a trade.
Although the trade itself is virtually complete, Harvin will have to sign an extension with the Seahawks for the deal to become complete. It still remains to be seen how much he will get, but expect the number to be very large, and they could cost a lot against the salary cap. Because of the large contract, expect to see some roster cuts. A couple guys that I don’t necessarily see as expendable, but could be casualties of this deal are Leon Washington and Sidney Rice. Washington is a specialist who frankly is unnecessary now that Harvin is here. Washington is a terrific returner, but he is still no match for Harvin, and Washington’s salary costs $2 million against the cap. Another guy who could be cut or traded is Sidney Rice, simply because he is another big money receiver who costs almost $7 million dollars against the cap just next year, which is about the same figure as Tom Brady. Although this is hard to see, it still has a possibility of happening. However, all of this depends on Harvin’s contract because it remains to be seen the numerical value of his salary, as well as how much it costs against the salary cap.

Even though they look like friends in this picture, Percy Harvin may have just caused Leon Washington to lose his job with the Seahawks.
AP Photo/Andy King
I already explained why Harvin fits with the team and used some of his statistics to show how good he really is, but there is still another element of this trade that needs to be addressed and that is how it will help the Seahawks overtake the 49ers. Adding another explosive piece to the offense puts more stress on opposing defenses and the 49ers only weakness on defense was cornerback, which means that this could be a huge place to exploit them. Additionally, word was the Niner’s were also in trade talks with the Vikings, which means that the Seahawks actually took Harvin from the 49ers. This is huge, because not only do the Seahawks add arguably the most explosive and versatile offensive weapon in the league, but they take him away from one of the Seahawks’ biggest rivals as well. Adding a weapon like this makes the Seahawk’s offense so hard to defend because of its great balance. Marshawn Lynch was second in the league in rushing last season and with Russell Wilson making great strides last year, one of the big goals of the offseason was to get him another weapon to improve the passing game. I guess the Seahawks can check that one off the list.
One final question about this trade is whether Harvin is truly worth the headache because he has had some off the field issues as well as some injury problems throughout his career. Let me be very clear on this issue. I don’t think it is an issue at all. One particular incident people will point to is Harvin blowing up at his head coach Leslie Frazier in the second half of a game against the Seahawks, of all teams. Some diva receivers would have been complaining about lack of touches or pass attempts in their direction. This case was quite the contrary. Harvin was complaining about a lack of touches for his teammate Adrian Peterson. This not only shows that Harvin is a team player, but that he is one of the smarter players in the NFL and knows what needs to be done to win. The second issue people will point to is his injury problems. This is true; Harvin has had his fair share of injuries throughout his career. Not only has Harvin battled migraines since his college days at Florida, he has also had his fair share of leg injuries. He is coming off surgery on an ankle he injured in the game against the Seahawks. He has also had a minor surgery on his right knee and has had Achilles tendinitis in his right leg as well. These have all been in the past and he has clearly been able to recover well from them. Up until his injury last season, he was performing at an incredibly high level. Furthermore, Harvin has established himself as one of the toughest players in the entire league and has proven he can play through pain and still perform at a high level. Harvin has reportedly moved past his migraine issue and with plenty of time to recover from ankle surgery, I do not worry about him missing any time or losing any explosiveness.

Hopefully Seahawk's fans will never have to see Percy Harvin like this.
Harvin’s versatility, speed, and flat out skill make him one of the best options in the NFL as an all-purpose player and combining him with the weapons already in Seattle makes him all the more valuable. In Minnesota, he and Adrian Peterson made up one of the best one-two combos in the entire NFL, and that was with Christian Ponder as their quarterback. Now, combine Harvin with Marshawn Lynch and one of the rising stars in the NFL at quarterback in Russell Wilson, and you have a virtually unstoppable three-headed monster. Wilson’s accuracy makes him the perfect type of quarterback to combine with Percy Harvin because getting the ball on time to a play-maker like Harvin is so key to success. Because he makes so many of his plays and gains so many of his yards after the catch, delivering the football in stride is one of the most important things to do for a weapon like Percy Harvin.
Finally, when determining a player’s value to a team, it is important to see what kinds of players the team has at that position already. For example, adding a star tight end to the Patriots, quarterback to the Broncos, or running back to the Vikings would be essentially useless because of the players they have at those positions already. So when deciding what kind of impact Percy Harvin will have on the Seahawks receiving core, it is important to compare him to the players already there. Sidney Rice led the team in catches last year with 50, which are 12 less than the number Harvin had in only nine games last season. Rice also lead the team with 748 receiving yards, which is only 71 yards more than Harvin had in eight more games. Just thinking of the possibilities with Harvin makes me start to tear up out of joy.
Percy Harvin is one of the best play-makers in the entire league and is personally one of my favorite players to watch. He is close to unstoppable when he touches the ball and he should get a lot of chances this upcoming season. Adding him to the Seahawks team gives them a dimension they have not had in years and I think it has a good chance to put them ahead of the 49ers this season. Simply put, this offense is going to be fun to watch this season. 

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