So, who expected to see this today?
The Seahawks will acquire Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings for the #25 pick in 2013, a seventh rounder this year and a mid-round pick in 2014. Life is never dull with Pete Carroll and John Schneider in town.
Firstly, Harvin is a tremendous playmaker. Without doubt one of the best in the NFL. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell worked with him in Minnesota for two years (his rookie season in 2009 and the following year). Pete Carroll also tried to recruit Harvin for USC in 2005. He met with the Gators and the Trojans and nobody else. He chose Florida, which isn’t a total shock given he’s an east coast guy (he’s originally from Virginia). Basically, they aren’t making this deal without deep inside knowledge in the player.
You can put him anywhere on the field and he’ll make plays. Receiver, runner, kick returns. He’s a nightmare to match-up against. If the Seahawks want to persist with the read-option within their offense, Harvin can be effective there too. He certainly was for the Gators in college. Speed, power, game-changing skills. He has the works.
Carroll and Schneider want unique players. Difference makers. Playmakers on both sides of the ball that possess rare qualities that you just don’t find every year in the draft. Harvin doesn’t just fit the bill, he’s the poster boy. There isn’t another Percy Harvin in the league. There isn’t another Percy Harvin in this draft class. That’s why he fits in Seattle.
Then there’s the other side of Percy Harvin…
His fall out with Minnesota was ugly. Very ugly. It was reported he clashed with Head Coach Leslie Frazier in front of other staff members and players. He was seen visibly screaming at his coach in the Vikings defeat to Seattle in November for no obvious reason. ESPN’s Tom Pelissero reported on the fall-out at the end of the season:
TV cameras caught Harvin waving his arms and screaming at Frazier on the sideline over his frustration with the Vikings’ struggling offense.
According to four NFL sources, Harvin and Frazier had another heated exchange weeks later in front of some players and staff members, fueling speculation about a deteriorating relationship that could spell the end of Harvin’s four seasons in Minnesota.
Details of that altercation remain clouded, though it is believed to have begun in the training room at the Vikings’ facility.
Multiple sources tell Mike Max that Harvin had an embarrassing tirade directed toward Frasier, disrespecting the coach during the season when Harvin was sidelined with an injured ankle.
Teammates were present, and Max was told that is when Harvin left the team and was put on injured reserve.
Sources say teammates were disappointed in Harvin’s actions and the organization has moved toward less tolerance for that behavior.
Harvin apparently had a similar incident when Childress coached the team.
The Vikings will try to trade him, Max reports, as Harvin does have market value.
It was quite a bizarre situation given Minnesota’s successful season where they made the playoffs. Really, what was there to complain about?
Harvin’s had two Head Coaches in his pro-career and fallen out with both. Will Carroll be the hat trick?
There’s also a substantial injury history.
In 2009 and 2010 he suffered severe problems with migraine’s and was constantly listed on the injury report as a consequence. He’s also had ankle, hamstring, hip, shoulder and finger injuries. In 2009 he was listed as questionable seven times. He was on the injury report eight times in 2010, seven times in 2011 and five times in 2012 before being placed on injured reserve (missing Minnesota’s last five games). He’s competitive for his size when he’s actually on the field, but he’s also been quite brittle.
While the Vikings and Harvin’s agent, Joel Segal, have yet to exchange contract proposals, it’s believed that Harvin wants money closer to what Calvin Johnson got from Detroit in 2012 (eight years, $132 million) than to Jackson or Bowe. That’s an average of $16.5 million per year compared to a little more than $11 million for Jackson and Bowe. As one person put it about Harvin, he considers himself a “special” player and executives around the league have fed that attitude by telling people close to him how difficult it is to cover Harvin.
The Seahawks will have the framework for a new deal agreed before any trade is completed. However, this will not be cheap. And it makes you wonder if other players — like Sidney Rice ($9.7m cap hit) or Zach Miller ($11m cap hit) — will be asked to re-work their deals given their substantial salaries in 2013. Cutting Rice would potentially save $6m in cap money — does that become an option? What about releasing Leon Washington (due $2.875m) given Harvin’s quality as a return-man? And surely moving Matt Flynn now becomes even more of a priority?
Then there’s this article by Jeremy Fowler to consider, where he notes other concerns about Harvin:
Percy Harvin “epitomized the climate” of player entitlement under coach Urban Meyer at the University of Florida, according to a Sporting News report posted online Monday, April 9.
Harvin, who played for the Gators from 2006-08, reportedly was one of three players who missed the 2008 season opener after allegedly failing drug tests for marijuana – penalties dictated by university policy – although Meyer publicly blamed an injury for Harvin’s absence.
Harvin also refused to run stadium steps with the rest of the team during offseason conditioning before the 2007 season, according to the Sporting News, and once allegedly threw wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales to the ground by his neck.
Harvin reportedly wasn’t punished for either of those incidents, according to the report, and was treated differently as a member of Meyer’s “Circle of Trust.”
Harvin told strength and conditioning coaches while boycotting stadium runs, “this (expletive) ends now,” according to the report, and the team played basketball as conditioning the next day.
It makes you wonder how this undoubtedly talented but also flawed player will respond to a big new contract. Will this play to Harvin’s entitled nature? Or will he be able to buy into Carroll’s ‘all-in’ philosophy and knuckle down? He’s not managed a 1000-yard season in his career yet, which is incredible given his talent-level. He needs to stay healthy and stay away from drama. If he can do that, he’ll be among the league’s best.
Harvin’s on-field talents will give Russell Wilson a truly dynamic receiver to target. Off the field though, will he be willing to give up time to work with such an intense character like Wilson, who’s a stickler for detail and putting in the hours?
Despite all the perceived negatives both Carroll and Darrell Bevell know the guy and aren’t walking into this blindfolded. They’re acquiring a player who doesn’t even turn 25 until May. And the fact is nobody is going to look forward to facing Wilson, Harvin, Marshawn Lynch and co.
Finally, what does this trade say about the draft? The Seahawks perhaps feel Harvin is too good to pass up. It could also be a review of what’s available in the late first round range. If they feel nobody gets close to Harvin’s level of talent (and they don’t) you can understand the deal. However, there’s little chance now for Seattle to attack their pass rush problems early. The options at #56 won’t be great. So while the offense continues to improve, there will be some concern that the biggest hole within the team will remain unresolved. Signing Harvin to a big contract won’t leave much room to make many other moves in free agency after all.
Yet think of it like this. Sheldon Richardson, Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd were way out of range. The top pass rushers will be long gone too, perhaps even Datone Jones. So if you’re looking at Kawann Short, Sylvester Williams or Percy Harvin, this is a no-brainer, right? Over the next few days we’ll focus on options with the #56 pick, which presumably will be spent on a defensive player (if they keep the pick).
There’s a lot to get excited about as you’ll see in the video below. It’ll make day one of the draft that little bit less exciting, but the Seahawks just acquired one of the best playmakers in the league. If they can keep him in tow, this could be a defining day for the franchise. It’s a big ‘if’ though.
What do you make of the trade? Let us know in the comments section and vote in the poll below.