Seahawks admit major mistake by trading Harvin to Jets
By PATRICK LEARY
College Contributor Network
For four seasons, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider built a near-perfect roster that led to the Seahawks winning the 2013 Super Bowl.
Friday, the roster they constructed, widely regarded as the deepest in football, started to show some cracks when the Seahawks traded Percy Harvin to the Jets for next to nothing. Harvin, who the Seahawks acquired for first, third and seventh-round picks before the 2013 season, was shipped to New York for a pick that could be a fourth or sixth-rounder, depending on whether the Jets keep Harvin next season.
The move marks Carroll and Schneider's first major defeat as team builders. Spending nearly $20 million on a player that logged six regular season games and two playoff games does not jive with the reputation the pair has developed around the league. It is an admission of defeat.
Harvin undoubtedly failed as a Seahawk. He played in just one regular season game in 2013, catching one ball for 17 yards. He played in two of the Seahawks' three playoff games, and cemented his legend as one of the league's most dangerous return men when he took back the second half kickoff in Super Bowl XLVIII. In 2014, he caught 22 passes for 133 yards and rushed 11 times for 92 yards and a score.
Why Harvin failed in Seattle is a question that goes beyond statistics. He struggled with injuries, and that essentially eliminated any major contribution he could have made last season. He was averaging a mere six yards per catch in 2014, which is nearly half of his career average. Darrell Bevell struggled to incorporate him into the offense, as the Week 6 game against Dallas showed.
That game also revealed that Harvin had an attitude problem that Seahawks management has used to explain away the trade. Allegedly, Harvin refused to play in the fourth quarter of the Dallas game last week.
That attitude also apparently extends to team chemistry issues. Doug Baldwin more or less confirmed their altercation after Seattle's loss to the Rams on Sunday. Meanwhile, Golden Tate denied getting punched by Harvin but most people close to the situation believe some sort of altercation occurred in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Others close to the situation reported that Harvin had a bad relationship with Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson.
Harvin's potential to poison the locker room, coupled with his huge 2015 contract number, $10.5 million, that would have made him the highest-paid Seahawk, caused Carroll and Schneider to shop him. The management team wanted a young tight end for Harvin, as they reportedly asked about Denver's Julius Thomas, Cleveland's Jordan Cameron and Indianapolis' Coby Fleener. For obvious reasons, those teams said no.
In the Jets, Seattle found an ideal trade partner. New York was willing to take on all of Harvin's salary and give the Seahawks a minor asset in return. After all, three-quarters of the Legion of Boom were day three draft picks. Seattle now has an extra $10 million to play with next year, some of which will surely go to Wilson's inevitably massive contract extension.
The Jets now have the most talented wide receiver they have had in recent memory. Geno Smith can breathe a little easier now that he has an elite short passing option to work with and Harvin will complement the Jets' other new wide receiver, Eric Decker, quite well. With New York already 1-6, the trade targets improvement for 2015 and beyond.
On the other side, the Seahawks failed with their fourth consecutive big acquisition at wide receiver. Dating back to when the Seahawks picked up Deion Branch in a trade with the Patriots, they also had failed experiments with TJ Houshmandzadeh and Sidney Rice.
Ultimately, the move shows a serious weakness in the Seahawks' previously impenetrable armor, one that was exacerbated by Seattle's disappointing loss to the Rams. While the 'Hawks cut their losses and cleared out a locker room cancer, they suffered a huge defeat and benefited a struggling franchise in the process.
Patrick Leary is a senior at Marquette University. He thinks Felix Hernandez is the best pitcher on God's green earth. Follow him on Twitter: @patrickkleary