Prospective readers beware: This post was originally intended to be short, like just three paragraphs. But then it got really long somehow. There’s clearly no reason why anyone would want to read an article this long about the Percy Harvin trade, so I don’t know why I made it this way and I apologize if you actually wanted to read a normal article.
News broke yesterday that highly-touted, if oft-infirm, Vikings wide-out Percy Harvin was traded to the Seahawks in exchange for a first round pick in the 2013 draft and a third or fourth round pick in the 2014 draft…Oh, and also a seventh round pick this year.
The Seahawks gained a stud receiver and returner in Harvin, and lost a #1 pick. The Vikings lost the same, but gained a #1 pick. So was this a good deal for the ‘Hawks? For the Vikings?
For the Seahawks…
Pete Carroll clearly wants to give quarterback Russell Wilson a little more free reign this year. Everyone expects the Wilson-led ‘Hawks will come into September running a finely-tuned pistol, read option-heavy offense. But before the trade, they lacked a true deep threat at receiver. While Harvin’s numbers over the past three years suggest that he’s more a piece for the short passing game, no one questions his abilities as a play-maker. He has shown a lot of pent-up potential as a deep threat due to his ability to get open, as well as terrific ball skills. If you listen to Harvin, the only reason he hasn’t put up a Megatron-like highlight reels the past couple of years is quarterback Christian Ponder’s generally uninspiring quarterbacking.
I expect Wilson and Harvin will have a connection in the deep-passing game like that of Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright at Baylor, with Harvin catching some absurd number of TD passes over 40 yards in 2013-14. Of course, Harvin also exceeds the NCAA version of Wright in his ability to play a variety of other roles on offense and special teams. The Seahawks had plenty of cap space to make this deal, so they don’t have to sacrifice any crucial pieces already in place to pay Harvin the $10 million+ that they’ll have to pony up for this trade-and-pay deal.
Had they not signed Harvin, the Seahawks would have had the option to take a receiver in the first round of the draft. Is Percy Harvin worth $9.5 million more than Justin Hunter? Yes. Yes he is.
The one issue is Harvin’s health. Between the mysterious illnesses, the migraines, and the history of leg injuries, no one should be surprised if Harvin fails to suit up for sixteen games for the fourth year of his short career career next year.
Seahawks Verdict: Good Trade. More than anything else, this shows me the amount of confidence that Pete Carrol and Seahawks front office have in Russell Wilson. I’m going to make an insanely early prediction that the Seahawks win the 2014 Super Bowl.
For the Vikings…
The issue is at once simpler and far more complicated. The Vikings need receivers more than the Seahawks, so how can they deal one of the best receivers in the game? Especially since Adrian Peterson does not approve…
I think the answer is fairly straightforward: Percy Harvin would not have played for the Vikings next season. I think the decision to trade Harvin this off-season was made when he was placed on injured reserve near the end of last season, despite evidence that he was on track to recover from his injury before the end of the regular season. Let’s take a look at a timeline of Harvin’s shenanigans:
November 2010: Harvin and then-head coach Brad Childress have to be separated after Childress reportedly questioned Harvin’s effort. Childress probably did that, and he’s a dick, but I think it’s possible that some of Harvin’s the practices and games Harvin missed for migraines and illness were just a way of taking a day off from working for an organization he clearly loathed.
June 2012: Harvin requests a trade. Probably because fewer than 50% of plays called in the huddle refer to Harvin by name.
November 2012: Harvin shrieks shrilly at Leslie Frazier on the sideline after the Vikings fail to execute a on a passing play that clearly shouldn’t have been thrown to anyone but Harvin. (Bullshit high school English lesson: alliteration is good.)
December 2012: As mentioned before, Harvin is placed on injured reserve, because it was really better at that point if he just left.
March 2012: 1) Harvin requests (read: demands) trade version 2.0. 2) Harvin is traded.
So, it’s more complicated in that we can’t really take Harvin’s production into account in evaluating the trade if we accept that Harvin would have flat-out refused to play for the Vikings this season. In this case, isn’t dealing him now better than dealing him later in the year for a pick in the 2014 draft, a la Carson Palmer and the Bengals? The Vikings were able to win without Harvin, and if Peterson’s back can continue to bear the weight of Christian Ponder and the entire rest of the franchise, then the Vikings are a contender right now. Second-year wide-out Jarius Wright coupled with a free agent acquisition (such as Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings), and a first round pick (such as Keenan Allen or Tavon Austin), would make for a better receiving corps than the sorry bunch of rejects the Vikings put on the field after Harvin was injured this year.
Vikings Verdict: Good Trade. And with that extra pick? The Vikings do what they’ve done so many times in the last few years by drafting an underrated Notre Dame prospect. With the Vikings needing to fill a hole at inside linebacker, at least one player comes to mind who fits the bill: Carlo Calabrese.
Oh, I meant with the 4th round pick in the 2014 draft. Who did you think I was talking about?