Harvin and Avril reflect Seattle’s unique perspective on value

Percy Harvin is the epitome of a John Schneider wide receiver

It’s funny how memory works.  One of the impressions I had from Seattle’s meeting against Minnesota last year was how unstoppable Harvin seemed.  Earlier today, I looked at Harvin’s game log to see how he did.  He had 10 yards receiving on six targets.  He added 24 yards on 4 rushes.  Was I smoking crack?  Why did I think Harvin was carving us up?

After reviewing that game a bit more, I realized how many close calls our defense had against Harvin.  Passes that just missed, passes caught that were just barely contained, and rushes that might have gone big if not for an ankle tackle here and there.  He may not have had a great game statistically before leaving with injury, but Seattle didn’t have the speed to cover him.  If he had been paired with a better quarterback and if he had played the whole game, I suspect he would have been a nightmare for our defense.  Harvin was on pace for 1334 receiving yards on 120 receptions before that fateful game at Century Link.  There was talk around midseason that he could end up an MVP candidate.

Pete Carroll once called Harvin “arguably the best football player in America” in reference to Harvin as a recruit from Landstown High School in Virginia.  The competition for Harvin as recruit came down to just USC and Florida.  Carroll made a big push, but ultimately lost Harvin to Florida, probably because Harvin wanted to stay on the east coast.  I don’t think Carroll ever forgot about Harvin.  If there is one thing you can count on- it’s that Pete Carroll doesn’t forget the one that got away.  Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, and Bruce Irvin can testify to this.  Now Percy Harvin can as well.

But just as importantly, I think Harvin had a special place in John Schneider’s heart as well.  In Green Bay- where Schneider served as Thompson’s right hand man for many years- they had tremendous success in the draft with receivers.  They followed a system that targeted fast receivers with quick feet and yards after catch ability.

In Seattle, that trend continued, with the team targeting quick receivers like Golden Tate and Kris Durham, as well as acquiring Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette and Phil Bates, all of whom ran in the 4.4’s or better.  The slowest receiver Schneider has acquired from the draft process is Lavasier Tuinei, and even he ran a 4.53.  The two biggest successes of that group are Tate and Baldwin.  Tate is famous for his ability after the catch, and Baldwin is no slouch himself.  A very common comparison for Tate is a poor man’s Percy Harvin.

After a pair of sneaky strong 2012 seasons from Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, it made sense that Seattle would target an upgrade in the slot over Doug Baldwin, who finally showed the same struggle to remain healthy that made him an otherwise undeserving undrafted free agent in 2011.  Harvin led the NFL in yards after catch per reception last season, and has the kind of rare quickness out of the slot that you will only find a few other places in the league.   Not only did Harvin’s profile perfectly fit Seattle’s preferences, but his ability as a slot weapon, kick returner, and wrinkle in the rushing attack fit perfectly into Seattle’s 2013 offseason needs.

Harvin also brings an added element:  he changes the way defenses have to game plan our offense.  Consider this video where Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave talks about the impact Harvin has on defensive formations:


Harvin’s speed and threat after the catch will not only limit the number of looks defenses can show pre-snap, but it will also force defenses to cover him in the slot with safeties and corners.  If you have a corner on him, that probably means using a nickle defense package.  Nickle packages tend to fare worse against the run, which is pretty nice considering that Seattle led the NFL in rushing percentage last season.  If you cover Harvin with a safety and are not using a nickle package, that means you only have one safety deep, which invites big plays on the deep ball.  If memory serves, Russell Wilson was the 4th highest quarterback in the NFL last season in deep ball throw rate.

It’s very unlikely that Harvin would post 120 catches for 1334 yards in our offense next year.  However, even if he posts Sidney Rice or Golden Tate type production, Harvin could bring a lot of hidden value to the rest of the offense based on his ability to change the way defenses play.

Regarding the trade itself, I don’t think it was a bad trade by any means, but I do think Seattle overpaid.  It was widely assumed just one month ago that Minnesota had no leverage and would be fortunate to get a 2nd or 3rd round pick.  One anonymous NFL GM even went so far to say that he’d be “shocked” if Minnesota even managed a 3rd.  I think Harvin’s $11 million a year contract is reasonable, but it is still a lot of money to invest at receiver in an offense that spreads the football.  And as Kenneth Arthur recently noted, Seattle owns the NFL’s most expensive offense, despite having a star quarterback making about 1/40th what he deserves.

Even the 7th round pick Seattle surrendered shouldn’t be taken lightly in this loaded draft class.  It’s very possible that the draft picks alone could have turned into two or three good players, and then you have the money aspect which would cover two more good players as well.  So for the price of one Harvin, Seattle gave up four or five contributors- and there is a chance one or two of them could be the next Richard Sherman or Bobby Wagner.  That’s a lot to give up.

Of course, Seattle’s roster is so stocked right now that many draft picks are going to waste anyway, but I don’t think that should be used as an excuse.  You always need more young talent to come in to replace the previous young talent that will inevitably lost to free agency in the coming years.

That said, I also thought Zach Miller was an overpay, and I couldn’t be any happier to have Zach Miller on my team.  I think everyone agrees that Joe Flacco is overpaid, but Baltimore is far better off with an overpaid Joe Flacco than without him.  Being an overpay does not make the Harvin transaction a burden by any means.  Quite the opposite, I think Seattle just got their version of Wes Welker.  The Patriots got Welker for a 2nd and a 7th, and a lot less money, but had they paid a Percy Harvin type price, they obviously wouldn’t have regretted it.  Not that I expect Harvin to post Welker type numbers, but I do think our offense will have a comparable leap forward.

Another trade comparison is Julio Jones.  The Jones trade cost far more in picks (two firsts, a second, and two fourths), but Harvin cost $7 million more a year in salary.  Even at the steep cost of the Jones trade, most people agree that the deal has been justified by Jones’ performances.  I don’t think Harvin is the kind of pure receiving threat that Jones is, but in terms of total contribution (receiving, rushing, special teams, the way he changes defenses) I think it could be argued that he’s at least in the ballpark for total value.

I don’t think this trade proved anything about Seattle’s priorities.  They could have acquired players like Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace, or Wes Welker for far less total cost.  The fact that they paid this much with some excellent cheaper alternatives just shows you how highly they value Harvin.  They clearly view Harvin as a 24 year old, MVP type difference maker for their offense.  I don’t think this was a case of buying high because of a need.  I think it was a case of buying high because they felt that Harvin specifically was a “must get” player.

Of course, all the worries about Harvin’s migraines and character risks shouldn’t be brushed aside (although to be fair, Harvin busts his ass on the field and is exactly the kind of “character risk” that would fit in around here).  We’ll see how that works out with time.  If nothing else, Seattle’s emphatic trade for Harvin crystallizes the idea that Seattle highly values speedy, yards after catch receivers.

John Schneider loves black sheep free agents

John Schneider’s modus operandi in free agency has always been “wait and see.”  In 2011, he made a shocking acquisition of Sidney Rice on day four of free agency.  Rice, a one time 1300 yard receiver, drew essentially no interest in the open market.  Seattle saw an opportunity for a potential #1 receiver on a reasonable deal, and pounced.  A few days later, more than a week into free agency, Seattle made an even bigger surprise signing with Zach Miller, who had far less interest than expected on the open market.  The deal for Miller wasn’t the potential bargain that Rice was, but Seattle was hunting for talent for their two tight end sets and Miller fits our multi-dimensional offense about as well as you could ask for.

In 2012, Seattle seemed disinterested in quarterback Matt Flynn, that was until his market didn’t materialize as many expected.  Teams avoided Flynn, unconvinced by his lack of track record and late round tools.  It probably didn’t help that everyone just assumed he’d get “Kolb money”, this during a time when Kevin Kolb was considered a cautionary tale.  Flynn ended up with almost zero market, and Seattle’s view changed.  They ended up swooping in to nab him at 3 years, $19 million, a move that probably would have looked brilliant if not for the thunderous emergence of Russell Wilson.

Of course, this tactic extends beyond big money darlings in free agency.  Black sheep come in all shapes and sizes.  Guys like Brandon Browner, Chris Clemons, Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington, Raheem Brock, Brandon Stokely, Anthony Hargrove, Kellen Winslow, Terrell Owens, and Braylon Edwards.  Some of those acquisitions were strikeouts and some were home runs, but all were low cost gambles that on the whole provided the team with a great return on investment.

This year’s black sheep acquisition is Cliff Avril.  Widely believed to be the top pass rusher available, Avril did not generate the market that was expected.  Perhaps citing a lack of run defense, or the theory that Ndamukong Suh acted as Avril’s benefactor, teams seemed wary to hand Avril top pass rusher years and money.  With Clemons being paid nearly $18 million for his age 32 and 33 seasons, coming fresh off an ACL, and with Irvin appearing to be far away from being a true 3-down LEO, adding another pass rusher at end made all kinds of sense for Seattle at the right price.  It’s no surprise then that Seattle was the first team to invite John Abraham for a visit after his release from the Falcons.

When it was announced that Seattle had signed Avril, I was surprised.  When I saw the details, I was stunned.  Fifteen million dollars over two years?  Seriously?  What a great buy low move and as early as day two of free agency no less.

Avril’s game is a bit of a mix between Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin.  Avril’s size, speed, and physique is extremely similar to Clemons.  And like Clemons, Avril can manage against the run without having to sell out for it.  Where he’s like Irvin is how he’s very much an edge rusher that isn’t the same on inside moves.  Avril thrives on attacking the edge and swatting at quarterbacks as he passes by.  This is where I think the Suh concern is very real, because most of Avril’s production occurs because quarterbacks are afraid to step into the pocket.  And without a 1st round pick, or any real answer in free agency, Seattle will find it very challenging to create interior pressure next season.  Of course, Seattle is not done with the offseason, and there are a few rays of hope in the 2013 draft to complete Seattle’s pass rush ((cough) John Simon (cough) (cough)).

For many teams, I don’t know if Avril made sense even at 2/15, but for Seattle’s LEO role he’s a great fit.  I would have happily seen the Seahawks sign him for 5/50 last offseason before he was franchised.  Our defense is built to minimize his issues against the run, and while we probably won’t generate the interior pressure he’s depended on, he didn’t exactly have a secondary quite like ours behind him in Detroit, either.

Of course, this acquisition raises questions about Chris Clemons’ future.  Will Seattle pay almost $18 million over the next two seasons for a 32 year old player fresh off an ACL when cheaper, safer, and frankly, better alternatives are available?  Clemons has been one of the most valuable defensive ends in the NFL, but I doubt he’d bring as much value in 2013 on a bad knee as a healthy John Abraham or Osi Umenyiora would.  Is a healthy 26 year old Cliff Avril worth less than a 32 year old Clemons fresh off an ACL?  With Avril acting as needed insurance, we might see a restructure attempt heading Clemons’ way.

Obviously, nobody expected Seattle to blow the doors off in the first two days of free agency.  But in retrospect, their actions seem almost predictable for how well they fit the established mold.  While the amount is shocking, the fact that Seattle went for Percy Harvin is hardly surprising.  While it was highly unexpected that Avril would find his market so lacking, it is not surprising that it was the Seahawks who took advantage of it.  So far, this has been nothing if not a very John Schneider type offseason.  The Seahawks do not handle free agency like most teams do, and it’s part of the reason they’ve risen so quickly as an NFL superpower.


  1. Leonard

    About overpaying. The 9ers ,who supposedly were his second biggest suitors, have several picks in the first few rounds. If the Hawks offered their second round pick the 9ers would have offered thier #2 pick in the second round. They could match anything we could throw in but our#25. If we wanted to make the trade then #25 was the only thing that was going to get it done. If you want something enough you simply have to be willing to pay more than the other guy (unless the other guy is nuts). And what “others” think be damned.

    • Byrd Flew

      That’s good insight and probably the case. I think maybe we were forced to give over #25, and I am perfectly ok with that.

    • Belgaron

      It’s pretty much true of any market that it is not until two motivated buyers show up that the price starts jumping.

      When you realize that Seattle has other teams hiring their front office talent and coaching talent and watching their every move at the combine and pro days you can understand why Seattle has approached these two deals like a Ninja. They avoided leaks, came in hard and fast and only announced the deals when they were agreements in place. They were trying to avoid additional competition from wannabe teams and tight competitors from the NFC West.

      Given those distractions, they have done extremely well to come away with very talented players for roles that could be the difference makers on both sides of the ball.

  2. xo 1

    Good thoughts. On free agency generally, there is a thoughtful article on Grantland about the silly season spending that accompanies opening day and the value that comes from patience. Not news to Seahawk fans but a good read.

  3. Ukhawk

    Yet another fantastic article from your website. Thanks so much for all the hardwork and thought-provoking insights. Also for the forum as well; really appreciate the follow on comments & dialogue too! Cannot praise you guys enough.

    But back to the present. We still have much to resolve and those other previously highlighted needs haven’t changed, theyve just shifted down a round or 2. And im certain the efforts of JS & PS will be just as vigilant in selecting players that will help the team now, and subsequently backfill spots opening up when the cap becomes a challenge. Now that youve convinced us of the importance of interior pressure, getting a versitile WIL, acquiring 2 set TEs, etc, how have our needs changed and more importantly what will be done to address them ?

    • Kip Earlywine

      Thanks Ukhawk. Feedback like this means a lot to us.

  4. Ryan M

    I don’t know if you can say Lavasier Tuinei was acquired through the draft process. He was signed as a rookie free agent after the conclusion of the 2012 draft.

    • Belgaron

      He was identified and on their target board just like players they drafted and they pursued him as a free agent as soon as the draft ended, it is very much part of the draft process.

  5. Seahawkone

    Thanks Kip, another great analysis. I just wanted to add that I have watched Harvin since his Florida days and always thought he was the best player on the field. He could run up the middle, outside or catch a short pass and take it to the house at any time. He played tough for his size. When I heard the news that Seattle got him I was very elated and just know what he brings and how much better the offense is going to be with him. Green bay receivers are all about the YAC right well John/Pete are drafting/acquiring the same type of receivers. Tate/Baldwin/Harvin all fit the Jenkins/Driver mold of Green bay IMO. You and Rob know much better than I but this is what I think they are shooting for. To add this element to this team has just made us so much more dynamic on offense. Our defense well…. speaks for it’s self.

  6. Byrd Flew

    Great analysis, Kip! I know it gets said here a lot, but you and Rob have turned this website into a ‘must-visit-three-times-a-day’ website. Kudos.

    In terms of getting an interior pass rush, due to the speed of Bruce, Clem and now Avril, it seems that we would be ok to just get a pocket pusher at three technique in the 2nd round. I think this is also more important due to the addition of Harvin and the increased maturity of our offense. I get the sense (probably more a hope, at this stage) that we will be playing from ahead a lot of games and will be forcing teams to throw it on us all second half.

    Given that, does Margus Hunt now come into play? We wouldn’t need him to be ‘crazily disruptive’ (although that would be nice!), he just needs to push the pocket back 2-3 yds during pass situations and be stout against the run. To be honest, and this is obviously simplified, we just need a 6’5″, 295+ guy that can bullrush every passing down and help collapse the pocket.

    Does Hunt fit this profile, Rob and Kip? Can he effectively collapse the pocket and be stout against the run? If not him, who else?

    Given that we now have 3 ‘Leo-type’ ends, could we move big Red Bryant to the one-technique on passing downs?

    • Belgaron

      Not so fast, Clemons could be lucky to get on the field this year let alone be back to a performance level comparable to where he’s been. At this point, we only have two LEO types with a realistic expectation of maybe getting Clemons back towards the end of the season even if he is able to physically play a little sooner than that.

    • Kip Earlywine

      You never know what Pete Carroll will do, but assuming they stick with Irvin/Clemons/Avril I think we’re probably set at LEO for now.

      I don’t think Hunt is a 3-tech, I think he’s a pure LEO prospect on defense. Quite honestly, I think Hunt would be a match made in heaven for Tom Cable as this year’s JR Sweezy. He’s got all the tools you need to be a offensive tackle for Cable’s system, just needs to add a little weight. But so far, I’m the only one who thinks this.

  7. Phil

    Kip – instead of looking at the stats to see how Harvin played against us, I looked at how Harvin played against the 49ers last year. Minnesota beat the 49ers on 9/23 24 to 13 and Harvin had 9 catches for 89 yds. and ran once for 9 yds. Add RW instead of Ponder and add the added complexity of the read-option and I think we have added a weapon that is really going to complicate matters for the 49ers.

    I was a big advocate for Avril last year before the Lions put the tag on him. I love this move!

    Both deals show how serious this front office is about making the run for the Super Bowl this year. Sure, we could have tried to address these needs via the draft, but I think that JS and PC realized that it would be unlikely that any elite WRs or DEs would be available at #25 and even if they were, it would probably take a few years for them to develop. It’s going to be fun to see how the draft plays out for us now — I’m hoping for John Simon, a “joker” TE like Jordan Reed or Cragg, and an OLB like Phillip Steward or Zaviar Gooden.

    • SunPathPaul

      Great picks there Phil. John Simon, ‘Tweeker’ TE Gragg and a Will and slot CB, and we have SOLIDITY.

      Big Time…

  8. Bill Bobaggins

    Kip, the thing that stuck out the most in this piece was whether or not you were really smoking crack.

    • Belgaron

      I think Kip had some deja vu of other speedy types carving up the Seahawks and it seemed worse. It’s been the team’s achilles heel. Maybe this year Thurmond or a draft pick is able to turn the nickel corner into a strength or at least not such a weak point.

  9. Jon

    I am spending a lot of time thinking about the cap now.
    What does everyone think of the possibility of Miller being restructured. I think that he would be willing to take a 4-5 m reduction this year if we garunteed a few million more over the length of the contract and extended him 2 years.

    I think he would take 7m in 2013 if his 2014 and 2015 salary remained the same, and he were given 2016 and 2017 salaries of 5-6 m per year with. In this deal he would want another fully garanteed year of being paid.

    Overal the balance of this deal would look like the following against the cap.
    7m in 2013 (Garunteed)
    7m in 2014 (Garunteed)
    6m in 2015 (cut expense total of 3m due to his signing bonus)
    5.5m in 2016 (cut 2m)
    5.5m in 2017 (cut 1m)
    With this extension his contract would be off the books by his 32nd birthday, or earlier if realeased any time beyond the 2014 season.

    • JW

      I don’t think I’d extend Miller’s contract, given his age and injury status right now. His current deal goes to 2015 and is pretty cheap that last year (2.8M). This past season and next are the big money years, and it starts declining the following two. So you take him to age 30 and let him walk. Or release him before then if he doesn’t like his pay. Rice and Miller go away right around the time other contracts start getting big.

      • Turp

        I agree with that. Draft to replace him in the next year or two.

      • Jon

        He will count at 7 m against the cap next year and 6 m against the cap in 2015. I left these numbers the same with no effects of a release cap wise after that point. Save $4m now was my point, and you spend nothing later if you have a replacement for him

        • Jon

          2.8 m is his paycheck in 2015. 6m is his cap hit with his signing bonus and other bonus.

          • JW


            I’d still let his contract ride. He’d only restructure if it ballooned later, and I don’t think that fits the roster plan as well as it currently does.

  10. Attyla the Hawk

    Something to consider as additional trade options:

    Phil Taylor DT Browns

    Cleveland has abandoned their 4-3 defense in favor of the 3-4. They have added Desmond Bryant and Paul Kruger at enormous cost. They currently have Jabaal Sheard and Phil Taylor as notable players that are somewhat displaced. They are essentially beginning a 2 year retooling of their defense, made tougher without a 2nd round selection in 2013.

    Phil Taylor plays similar to Alan Branch with more productive results. He is listed around 330, and holds up very well against the run. He had dropped his weight about 20 pounds in order to play Cleveland’s 3 tech position. Currently however, his skills are about to be minimized as he’s a 3 tech without a position. Cleveland is currently looking at platooning him at NT.

    This could be a case where Cleveland would be looking to pick up a cheaper run stuffer in early day 2, and maybe pick up some picks in trade. As far as I can tell, Phil Taylor is a much better prospective option than the similarly aged Sylvester Williams or any of the other round two 3 tech options there are to be had out there.

    Taylor has 2 remaining years of a rookie deal. I don’t see Cleveland hoping to resign him, particularly after the money they’ve dropped in the opening UFA signing period.

    Just an alternative to throw out there. It certainly wouldn’t take a first round selection to get him. Maybe not even a 2nd round pick. Cleveland could very well be wanting to take a Hankins/Jenkins/Geathers prospect in the 2nd round regardless if for no other reason, than to have a guy under team control for more years. A platoon NT is NOT worth R1 money.

    Taylor’s contract is backloaded. His cap hits for 2013/14 is 2.2 and 2.5 million respectively. It seems dubious that Cleveland would want to spend that kind of money on a part time NT, when they can get one in round 2 for about a quarter of that cost.

    I’m left to wonder, if Taylor couldn’t be wrested from Cleveland’s grip for a late 2nd round pick. Allowing Cleveland to basically pick up the selection needed to replace Taylor with a cheaper/younger version. Taylor would have more value to a 4-3 team than for Cleveland’s 3-4. And recall, Cleveland doesn’t have said 2nd round pick due to the selection of Josh Gordon in last years supplemental draft.

    This guy looks like a really good option/fit for us. I for one would relish getting a guy I felt ‘got away’ from us. I was very disheartened to see Seattle not move up to get him (netting Carpenter instead). Really, the last 2 drafts have been tough, since I was hoping for Taylor in 2011, and Cox in 2012.

    Speaking of guys we banged the table for:

    Jabaal Sheard (remember him? — I sure do) is another displaced Brown. Cleveland is looking at playing him at outside linebacker. This transition is worth watching, because he’s another productive, young pass rushing DE. His transition to OLB is extremely dubious as he’s a 260# end and he’s not a guy who looks like he’s capable of getting under 245. So him transitioning to OLB is probably not going to happen.

    It might sound silly to be extolling Browns talent. This team has a LOT of warts. But their DL is not one of those warty corps. These are two guys (young guys too) who each would fit in very well here at our only remaining roles of need.

    There are several teams moving to a 3-4 defense. We should be looking at those rosters for displaced/marginalized talent for trade. This is a talent that is worth keeping an eye on. I’d consider him someone that could compete and supplant Irvin or even newly signed Avril.

    • Rob Staton

      I’d love to get at either Sheard or Taylor. Mocked Sheard to Seattle many times in 2011, just looked like a great LEO fit. Taylor was one of my favourite players from that draft.

    • Eric

      Whooo-weee! That is some mighty fine analysis Attyla. And it’s the kind of out-of-the-box thinking for which this FO is known. I also applaud you for recognizing the opportunity presented by the Browns’ transition to the 3-4, and the roster/cap issues it creates for them. Way to spot an exploitable opportunity.

      Somewhat ironically, I remember Sheard, but not Taylor, from the 2011 draft (for the same reason Rob stated – a natural LEO). I say ironically, because now, of the 2, Taylor seems to fill more of a need than Sheard, especially in light of yesterday’s Avril signing (though Sheard is one heck of a gamer too). Either would be superior to any positional prospect that SEA could hope to get with its draft picks this year, particularly in that they are Day One contributors. One can hope…

    • dave crockett

      “Hey Beavis. He said ‘worty corps’. Heh. Heh. Heh-heh-heh. Heh-heh.”

      Sorry. B&B flashback.

      Carry on…

  11. Hawksince77

    About Harvin, and the changed attitude in the league I posted about in the last thread, here is Harvin himself:

    “I don’t think there could have been a better fit for me,” Harvin said, according to the Seahawks Web site. “It seemed everything unfolded at the right time, at the right place, with the right people. So for me, it was a no-brainer. I was telling my agent, ‘Just keep pushing and get this thing done.’ I wanted to be here so bad. … Once my agent called and said Seahawks, that’s where it stopped for me. I said, ‘I’d love to get there, and get me there.’ ”


    When have we ever heard such words from a top-flight FA? PC/JS get all the credit in the world for the team they have built, and the culture around competing.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Very cool. If there is a destination team right now, it’s Seattle. If you are a disgruntled player, hearing “Seattle” is a best case scenario. I bet he was more than a little excited to hear that news.

    • A. Simmons

      Wow. It is strange hearing FAs want to come here. Carroll sure does look fun to play for. Now that we have a franchise QB and are starting our ascent as a contender, it must be attractive to get on a team just as it’s starting to rise.

  12. Rob Staton

    He had a great playoffs. But he hasn’t been a regular season force since he left Arizona.

  13. Turp

    Jarvis Jones may not fall too far after all.

    CBS Sports’ Rob Rang writes that multiple teams told him that Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones “passed their tests.”
    This is another positive sign for Jones’ health, however, every team’s results and judgment will be different. Rang ranks the pass rusher as his third overall player, checking in behind Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher. “In a draft in which everyone is projecting numbers based on upside, Jones actually produced,” writes Rang.

    • Rob Staton

      Hard to read into anything at this stage, it’s lying season. It only takes one team to make him a top-15 pick. I hope he does go early, fun player to watch.

      • Eric

        I do too…top 15 specifically. That’s because, as much as I like him personally, I really do not want to see him in a Ram uniform any time soon.

      • dave crockett

        When I watch him run he reminds me of Ahman Green.

        It looks like his feet aren’t quite touching the ground.

  14. Caleb

    Rob and or Kip,

    What are the chances that we see Irvin in a switch to Will on rushing downs, and then Leo/DE in nickle and passing downs? Avrill and red or Clem take DE and find a DT in the draft?

    Thanks for all the great work

    • Rob Staton

      I think they’ll keep him in the Raheem Brock role personally – a role that really suits his skill set and speed. Would love to see another nickel 3-tech come in, working on those stunts inside that seemed to work so well in the first half of last season.

    • Colin

      About the same as the Seahawks going 0-16 this year.

    • Kip Earlywine

      They’ll keep him in the Raheem Brock role and hope to develop him into more. While he has the speed and size to play linebacker, he doesn’t have the instincts to even play DE every down, so it’s hard to see him having the instincts and reaction speed at linebacker.

      I don’t think it’s in any way silly to bring this topic up. Seattle is always looking to put players in the best position to succeed. I just think for Irvin, that’s probably not LB.

      • Attyla the Hawk

        Agreed. I can see how the physical tools would give that idea some intrigue. But seeing how he struggles at the DE when tasked with rather simple run/pass read responsibility — I think he just doesn’t have the instincts or the recognition skills to remotely play LB.

        It’s a good idea. But I think there is evidence that the mental aspect of that switch is asking Bruce to do something he’s not equipped to handle. Not saying he’s dim either. Just that the recognition/read skills is a tangible asset that often times is not coachable. It doesn’t appear to be one of Bruce’s gifts.

  15. jianfu

    Vikings fan here.

    Seahawks and their fans will LOVE Harvin. Everyone knows what he does, but you’ll be astonished at how tough, instinctual, and (for his size) physical the guy is. For whatever off field issues he has, he’s always there on Sunday. Dude. Plays. Hard.

    I’ve seen some durability concerns, but I wouldn’t worry. He had trouble with his ankle/foot at Florida, but then was never really “injured” until the game at Seattle (ankle). (Scuttlebutt was his public, on field “discussion” with Frazier that game was about Ponder…Harvin, correctly, isn’t a fan.) Outside of that, he had some migraine issues, but the Vikings put him through some diet/treatment procedures; his migtaines now seem under control. (And even with them, I think he maybe was inactive 1 or 2 times, maybe; he sometimes would play after he had one that week. I do recall one game he didn’t return kicks: looking straight up at the Dome’s teflon ceiling can’t feel good with a migraine. But again, I don’t recall them being an issue over the past two seasons at all.)

    Teammates seem to like him and I’m not sure he’s a “clubhouse” problem. I think the guy clearly has some issues with authority figures (going all the back to high school). He’s also fairly moody. He’ll seem chatty and funny one day, and then the next he’s short and gloomy.

    Other than that, congrats. He’s a spectacular player.

    • Turp

      Great insight, thanks! A lot of his problems seem to be due to overblown media coverage.

    • Ben

      Thanks dude. It’s nice to see a vikings fan that doesn’t say that we were stupid to acquire him because he’s “injury prone” or a “locker room cancer”. None of them have presented any evidence and the research that I’ve done indicates otherwise, so I am inclined to think that they’re just scared. I think that as long as the Vikings have Adrian Peterson they will be a force to be reckoned with. That said I think that Keenan Allen should still be there at the 23rd or 25th pick and that he would help Ponder a lot, big guy with good hands. so good luck and I hope for a good game at the C-link this next season.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      It’s really rare to find such a dynamic playmaker who is also one of the toughest in the entire NFL at his position.

      I struggle to compare his level of toughness to to many WRs in this league. Maybe Fitz and Calvin. Boldin probably. His ability to take on and run through tackles though is probably in the top 3 of the league.

      We are kind of the island of misfit toys here. I’m not expecting his psych makeup to be particularly out of order here.

    • Eric

      Thanks very much jianfu. Much appreciated insight. Especially the migraine-moodiness connection. Hadn’t thought of that before; it is well documented that migraines often go hand-in-hand with depression (often mistaken for moodiness). Which doesn’t worry me much because even bipolarism (a specific and far more acute form of depression) is well managed with proper diet, exercise and modern pharmaceuticals.

    • Rob Staton

      Really appreciate you coming onto to the blog to share those thoughts jianfu. Thank you.

      I’d love to know your thoughts on what the Vikings might do at #23 and #25.

      • jianfu


        As for the Vikings? Hmmm. They like to move up and down and get their marks. So I don’t expect them to sit at 23 and 25. I could see them moving up for somone.

        They love drafting SEC receivers–Harvin, Sidney Rice, Jarius Wright, Greg Childs–so I’ll say they’ll move up for Cordarrelle Patterson and then nab Arthur Brown.

    • Madmark

      Appreciate the insight Jianfu and I wished other fans from other teams had as much class as you seem to have. Since I don’t think we can get him I think you all should grab Ryan Swope it would be a very good start to building a receiver corp for Minnesota.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Classy post. Thanks for the insights.

  16. CFR

    This signing was nothing short of a statement.

    When I heard we signed Cliff Avril, I groaned because (despite his obvious talent) I figured that it would take a team breaking the bank to get him. So between the time that Avril’s signing was announced and the time that the contract details (length, salary) were announced, I wasn’t thrilled with the move. I was disappointed solely because prior to the details being announced, the statement it sent was: “We’re here to win now, even though this contract may affect our ability to win in a few years”.

    And then the terms came out.
    2 years, 15 million for arguably the top defensive player in free agency.
    To quote Will Brinson, “$15M for two years??? John Schneider is a frigging Jedi.”

    My thought process changed completely. I went to look at when the contracts of core players like Sherman, Thomas, Okung and Wilson are up. 2015, 2015, 2016, 2016 respectively.

    And then it hit me: Avril’s signing was a completely independent of what will happen with the core of this team. They hadn’t made a statement about winning now at the potential expense of losing a key piece or two in a few years. They made a statement about winning now and continuing to win*. They made a statement that this franchise is no not going to settle – not today, and not in two years from now.

    They made a statement that the NFL had better be ready for Seahawks football, because we’re not going away for a long time.

    *Coincidence that Pete’s workshop is called “WinForever” (http://www.winforever.com/)? I think not.

    • Bryan C

      That last line makes me want to say “Hell yeah!”

    • A. Simmons

      Very friendly competition contracts. There are some realities involving contracts and cash Pete can’t avoid. But he’s definitely finding a way to implement his competition mantra in the NFL. The roster is built so that existing players compete with new players for playing time and roster positions regardless of money invested. May the best man win.

  17. Robert

    I think Percy Harvin will have a tremendous impact on our Beast game. Teams MUST focus a lot of attention on PH and will find themselves in Nickel with the beast running over their DB’s!!! I expect our WR’s to benefit greatly as well.

    Who is going to stress the middle of the pocket??? Brandon Williams, Margus Hunt, Free agent???

  18. Stuart

    Harvin + Avril

    Total Cost: 1st, 7th and 2014 3rd

    Split that up anyway you like if it makes some of you feel better. Regrading the cap, it’s not our money. JS has a master plan, relax already. Here is an analogy, good Chess players are thinking 3+ moves ahead and great Chess think 7+ moves ahead. Based on his track record, JS is a great GM.

    Very few of us are Finance majors and even fewer of us if any have a chart of our players/salaries/age/system fit/short analysis/long term analysis on our computer screen in the form of custom designed software for NFL GM’s.

    JS understands all our concerns, he has had those same concerns long before we had them. He is just marking off his to-do list. As a Seattle Seahawk fan, this is the greatest off-season ever!!!

    • Ray graham

      Totally agree with you. I’ve loved this team since the day the franchise was formed and a can’t ever remember being this excited by an off season. We’ve grown accustomed up here in Alaska south to expect mediocrity from our teams and it’s hard to just sit back and enjoy the ride. This front office is GOOD!! Trust them people they know what they are doing! It’s our time… Enjoy the rise of the beak!!!

  19. Kip Earlywine

    Figured I’d add this in the comments:

    Harvin said in his press conference that he sought medical help for his migraines two years ago and hasn’t had one since.

  20. adog

    These moves signify a BPA approach to the upcoming draft. A WILL? A 3 tch? I’m not so sure. I think not. Those are the two least important positions in Carroll’s defense in my opinion. While many of us are enamored with a 3 tch that has extra-abilities to pass rush, i don’t think that fist into the scheme. I predict that they resign Branch. The Avril signing convinces me more that they want three to four leo\edge rushers and a big 3 tch who is disruptive at the line of scrimmage. I think Avril will be used on the edge and in a jason Jones type of position next year. i envision Irvin, Avril, Davis(dexter), and Clemons running stunt after stunt on both edges in pass rushing downs next year….while Branch, Bryant, and some others anchor and plug the middle zone on the line. As for the Will…maybe they address the position in the later rounds perhaps…but they have two WILLS on the roster already who fit the mold for what Carroll wants in a WILL. Quick, good zone coverage guys…can cover fast TE’s, and solid tacklers. So who do they draft? I expect to see a safety and a cornerback drafted in rounds 2-5.

    • Eric

      Hoping John Simon and Armonty Bryant are among them.

  21. Madmark

    Leon Washington just signed a 1 year contract with the patriots and another old seahawk was released yesterday Big Play Babs on the open market. Can’t help but I’m always interested in Seattle players that have moved on and I always hope for the best for them.

  22. Stuart

    Love it, the rise of beak! Be afraid, be very afraid of the beak. This will be “beakin” the other teams out.

  23. Misfit74

    (note: I didn’t read this article yet – only the header)

    A couple thoughts I wanted to add on these signings and just of my appreciation of this front office. A lot of thinking out loud and pointing out the obvious, at times, I’m sure, but here goes:

    It’s clear to me that our FO does a great deal of planning and forecasting the market and available players. We have a good handle on planning for which players will become available and planning and being prepared for if/when they don’t come available. We seem to have an answer for every facet of gaining an edge and adding quality talent available within a fairly broad spectrum of what fits our team. We know in advance how we can blend a variety players into schemes and schemes with players. They clearly target our team’s weaknesses, possible defections, and market demands of our own players including as those things relate to other teams around the entire NFL and ultimately solve those things – and often have terrific solutions.

    We knew there was a chance Harvin would become available via trade (among other WRs) and viewed him as the best player to acquire and went out and did it. They made it happen. They were aggressive enough to not again get beat out by other teams (see: Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall, for example). They are constantly learning and adapting to the NFL landscape and stay extremely hungry to make this team better.

    Avril could have been tagged or given a lot of money elsewhere. Clearly they viewed Clemons’ injury and possible season starting PUP as a weakness even though they had perhaps view pass-rush as a continued ‘need’. When Avril was not re-signed or tagged didn’t just act: they pounced. They knew the market for Kruger and the other pass-rushers well enough to seemingly instantly hand Avril the contract they did. Clearly, those moves (Harvin and Avril) were going on some time before we all found out about them. Voracious aggression. Just like our defense. We can see the ‘compete’ mantra shining through all over the place.

    It boils down to some simple principles and thinking: to win you must have more of the best players; players that give you an edge. Beyond that you can’t leave any weaknesses unaddressed. Build through the draft. Fill in key pieces through FA – but don’t rely on FA too heavily. Be heavily prepared in both areas with a myriad of options at the ready.

    They have an uncanny edge in preparing for opportunities. They seize everything they can with the obvious goal of winning in mind while balancing the cap, the future, and the present in a wonderful manner. I love it. It’s great to be a Seahawks fan and this is just the initial splash. We still get the remainder of FA, potential trades, and the draft – and this is just the off-season.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Nobody has it better than us right now. Our team is the darling of the king of American sports. I’m soaking up every minute of it.

  24. A. Simmons

    The thing I like about getting Harvin is it’s like getting Wes Welker in his prime when Brady was just hitting his prime. Wes Welker put up his numbers with a HoF QB throwing to him. Harvin put up his numbers with a Hof QB in his 19th year that fell off in his 20th and a rookie QB that isn’t looking all that great. If you compare Welker’s early production in Miami with Harvin’s in Minnesota, Harvin’s is superior. If you look at Harvin’s combined receiving and rushing production, he’s on par with Welker during his early years in New England. Harvin is a superior athlete to Welker and should reach 1200 yards or more in combined receiving/rushing production on an annua basis in Seattle.

    The Avril signing I see as protection against Chris Clemons inability to return to form and a cushion developing Irvin. If Irvin shows a greater jump next year in his ability to make his reads at the line and play the Leo position, Avril will be the Raheem Brock rusher. He’s even accustomed to rushing from that side. If Irvin doesn’t show development, then Avril steps in. This will be a key camp battle next year. I think they’ll monitor Clemons rehab as the June 1st date gets closer. If he is close to ready to go he’ll get his chance to compete. If not, he’ll be cut.

    The free agency period is definitely not over. I think we’ll make some cap moves to bring the cap down and sign a cheap DT to play with Red and Mebane, probably bring Branch back.

    I’m also intrigued by the TE we signed. The 6’8″, 280 lb former basketball player that showed enough promise to give a FA contract to. If he develops into something, he could be a monster.

    This definitely screams LB in the second round.

  25. Madmark

    Something to consider in this draft. Just cause someone has a 2 round tag on them doesnt me mean he’ll be there when Seattle picks. We are so far back in each round except for our 5th pick from the raisers, that you’ll probably have to pick a 3rd rounder you like for 2nd. Just something to think about our 4th round pick is 120 and the 5th round pick from the raiders is 131 a mere 11 picks away. If you see a guy ya think is going in the 3rd round its more than likely he’s not going to be there at the time we pick in the 3rd because 25 teams will have picked before us for that round . Except in the 5th which seems to be our lucky spot.

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