The reports are in: the Seahawks are trading their 2013 first round pick, a 2013 seventh round pick, and a 2014 “mid-round” pick to the Minnesota Vikings for Percy Harvin. One of these days, we’re going to make a deal for an ex-Vikings receiver that actually manages to make them look bad! Suck it, Hutchinson!
So, what does it all mean? The Seahawks get a 4-year veteran who has only one season under his belt where he managed to play in all 16 games. He will be 25 years old when the season starts, so you figure he’s still in that “young” range. He’s a proven play-maker, out of the slot, out of the backfield, and as a returner. As long as he stays healthy, the sky is the limit.
He joins a squad that includes Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, and Sidney Rice. You’d figure he’s going to be fighting tooth and nail to take as much playing time away from Doug Baldwin as possible, but there’s another way to look at this. Golden Tate is entering the final year of his rookie deal. The Seahawks are two years into a big deal with Sidney Rice. Either one of those guys could be off the roster after 2013 (if Tate gets a better offer elsewhere, or if Rice’s cap number is too high to maintain). As long as he stays healthy, Percy Harvin is a nice little insurance policy to ensure that Russell Wilson always has at least once quality receiver to throw to.
One of my initial questions involved the future of Leon Washington. At first, I thought it meant the immediate doom of a fan favorite who is on the wrong side of 30. But, I would argue it’s smart to hang onto Leon for at least another season. When you’re talking about a guy who has that “injury prone” label, do you really want to expose him to a bunch of unnecessary hits as a Special Teams returner? Especially when a major reason that “injury prone” label exists is due to head injuries? I understand, you can’t live your life worrying about someone getting injured – after all, a bus could fall from space and destroy all the dinosaurs – but there is a reason why the NFL has tailored a lot of rule changes around kickoff returns. Then again, putting him back there for the occasional punt return could be a nice little asset to have. As long as he stays healthy, teams will have to think twice about launching 50-yard punts against us.
You can’t talk about this trade without seeing visions of Tim Ruskell trading away a mid-20s first round pick for Deion Branch. Conventional wisdom told us at the time: you’re not going to find a better player than Deion Branch so low in the first round, so why not pull the trigger? I think that’s a bullshit argument, and if you think anything of the talents of John Schneider as a player evaluator, you’d agree.
Yes, the reason why the Seahawks are this good, this soon after bottoming out at the end of the Ruskell regime is because Schneider was able to pull some amazing players out of his ass in the lower rounds of drafts. But, you can’t just negate the importance of first round draft picks, no matter where they’re located on the number line. The 49ers were just praised to death for giving away Alex Smith for a high 2nd round pick – which is essentially just a very low 1st round pick. You can’t flip that and now say a pick in the 20s is meaningless. Odds are, the player Harvin is now is better than what we’d find at our spot in the draft. But, the chances are also good that Harvin remains injury prone, misses a bunch of time, and ends up as a huge bust for this team. As long as he stays healthy, we won’t think twice about the picks we gave up.
But, that’s no reason to blindly praise something that most certainly has a chance of biting us in the ass. This isn’t just a huge investment in terms of draft picks, but it’s GOING to be a huge investment in terms of dollars. As long as he stays healthy, and as long as it helps us win a championship, I’ll gladly eat these words of reservation.
In the meantime, I’m going to worry. Because I’m a fan of Seattle sports teams, and that’s what I’m conditioned to do.