Percy Harvin will require surgery

For the first time since the trade, I looked at the players that were available with the 25th pick this year. Maybe that was unfair. It probably was. Danny Kelly at Field Gulls is quick to remind everyone that even the biggest of 6-year contracts is a marathon not a sprint.

Like a lot of other people though, I was swept away on a wave of euphoria when the Seahawks traded for Percy Harvin.

Pete Carroll knew the guy and tried to recruit him for USC. Darrell Bevell worked with him in Minnesota. And John Schneider was the man who drafted Russell Wilson.

That was reassuring at the time. It helped fans cast away any doubts about the deal — and boy were there doubts.

Before any hint of a trade emerged, I wrote an article titled “The argument against Percy Harvin to Seattle“.

Injuries. Drama. Percy World.

For every sublime kick return, juking touchdown, piece of brilliance… there always seemed to be a negative. Or two. Or three.

Just months after spending a bounty of picks (including a first rounder) and giving up a $67m contract, there’s more bad news for Harvin. Now we have to wait and see what surgery means.

End of season? Or can he realistically have some kind of impact later on?

Is it hypocritical to celebrate a trade then contemplate it’s worth at the first sign of bad news? Absolutely.

I’d also argue that as a fan you want every big move to come off. You buy into what the team sells because, well, why not? It’s not irresponsible to get caught up in the moment. Life throws enough at you without the need to stop yourself getting excited about your football team making a big trade.

Yet if you put yourself in the shoes of any other NFL fan tonight… you’d be using the words, “I told you so.”

Not unfairly, they’ll say they saw this coming. Harvin injured? Percy drama? Par for the course.

If San Francisco had dealt for Harvin and were facing this news, you’d argue you’d seen it coming. And yet you still defended Seattle’s decision to trade for him. Didn’t you?

I know I did.

My main concern tonight isn’t Seattle’s reputation after making a big move for Harvin, or how the team will do without him. The drafting of Russell Wilson alone has bought a decade of gaudy reviews for this front office while the team wasn’t exactly light at receiver prior to making the trade.

No, what bothers me more is the knowledge that Golden Tate is in a contract year. Tate is going to be expected to pick up the slack now, with others. The idea of maybe having to let him walk next year after a blockbuster season in relief of Harvin makes me cringe.

Imagine those talks next year. Tate lights it up in 2013. His rep’s point to the injured Harvin and his $67m deal. Although he can’t expect to earn the same, it’ll make it very hard for the Seahawks to keep their man. This is assuming Tate can have a big year of course, but last season’s evidence gives me no reason to question why he can’t.

Especially in light of the news today.

Premature concern, perhaps. But it’s not an unlikely scenario is it?

Add to that the fact Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Russell Wilson, K.J. Wright and others will all eventually need to be paid. Wouldn’t you like to keep Michael Bennett beyond 2013 if he prospers?

Percy Harvin is earning on average $3m more a year than anyone else on this team. He has a deal that pays $25.5m in guarantees and a possible total of $67m over six years.

Harvin’s massive contract doesn’t prevent any of those players re-signing alone, but it makes it more of a challenge. Every week he isn’t on the field, that’ll be harder to take.

This might be a knee jerk reaction, but I don’t think it’s an unfair reaction. This is a trade that divided opinion in the NFL. Seahawks fans bought it for the most part because it was exciting. Myself included.

Whether we like it or not, Harvin has now been banged up enough and missed sufficient games in his career to flirt with being ‘injury prone’ rather than ‘robust’ for his size.

For a team that had been built through the draft and with cost effective moves in free agency, the Harvin trade was a departure from that. Whatever your view on James Carpenter, if he’s a one contract and done guy in the NFL it’ll have very little lasting impact.

The same could’ve been said for whoever was drafted by Seattle at #25 this year. The Harvin deal is a different beast entirely. There are $25.5m guaranteed reasons why.

The Seahawks took a swing and that in itself should be applauded. Let’s just hope Steve Bartman’s sat in the crowd.

Ian Rapoport describes the situation between Harvin and Seattle as “a little tense” in this video. It seems the Seahawks wanted Harvin to play and believed he could play with the problem.

Edit – I feel slightly better about today’s decision after reading this article by Mike Garafolo. Although you have to ask, if this issue really has been troubling Harvin since the spring, why is it being dealt with in August?


  1. Austin

    So first doctor said he’s fine. chancellor played through this last year….hard not to be judgemental on this. I guess we will hear how bad it is and the timetable for a return. Keeping mouth shut until we hear more….

    • Turp

      Injuries are never the same. No use in comparing them.

    • Sea-Town

      I’m with you.

    • kevin mullen

      first doc was a ‘Hawk Doc, lot of pressure to put players on field. second doc was independent, someone that’ll side with client more often than not.

  2. Michael (CLT)

    Next man up!

  3. Austin

    But again hard not too considering the first doctor said it was something he could play with. Coupled that with what all the Minnesota fans have to say and it’s tough not feeling disappointed and left wondering. I hope my suspicions are wrong and I do wish him well. Just hate seeing all the told ya so’s from Viking fans….

  4. Austin

    I do think Tate takes off this year and will be motivated. Rice, Baldwin and Tate will be fine this year.

  5. Nolan

    @bcondotta: RT @SteveSandmeyer: RT @ProFootballTalk: Per league source, Harvin’s surgery will happen Thursday. He’s expected back late in the season.

  6. dj

    Well we can’t expect every 1st rounder to contribute immediately, amirite?

  7. Sea-Town

    Rob states: “Add to that the fact Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Russell Wilson, K.J. Wright and others will all eventually need to be paid. Wouldn’t you like to keep Michael Bennett beyond 2013 if he prospers?”

    And there’s the rub. The massive contract for an injury prone player, who may never do for Seattle what they envisioned, will prevent the Seahawks from keeping some damn good football players. That really sucks!

    • HawksMeat

      I agree. I am ok with giving up the first round pick, it is a good risk. What I feel was crazy was the amount of the contract. Percy is dynamic, a stud, but to pay him that kind of money with the significant question marks and then add the statements made by the FO that they want to draft and pay their own. Here they give an exhorbant amount of dough to a player with awesome ability and huge risks they did not draft. They have players who were drafted and earned a raise that may not be able to resign. Of course it isn’t just his contract, but it does play a role.

      Love Percy is a Seahawk, but I believed the Seahawks would not just gain with this move, but would lose something in return.

  8. hawaiihawkfan

    We have him for SIX YEARS, well 5 and change if he stays healthy. Harvin is Seahawk for the long haul, let’s not treat him like the Vikings did. Even if he only averages ten games per season for the next 6 years chances are we probably win 8 or 9 of them. Yes, MVP type players make a big difference.

    • Rob Staton

      I think the fear will be… yes we have him for six years. But when you start like this, it is hard not to think ‘what’s next?’ That’s a natural reaction to bad news sometimes.

      • JW

        and if a guy is missing games at 26, why should we expect a positive trend 3,4,5, and 6 years down the line?

  9. kevin mullen

    Well, being that it did take quite a bit of capital out of our arsenal in the previous draft, it does suck, as Sinatra would say.

    The problem I have with this is that he injured himself during his OWN time, meaning it was outside of the ‘Hawk facility and never know if it was something stupid like playing pickup basketball or falling of a tricycle. We don’t know.

    Him being injured hurts but not the end of world. We have preservered as a team w/o Harvin and feel we can do the same. Maybe he can sit on the sidelines and watch what a REAL team does for each other regardless of situation.

  10. Aaron

    Sidney Rice has a bloated contract ($41 million, 5 years, signed in 2011 I believe.) If Golden Tate does have an amazing year for us (which would be a very good thing, btw) we could potentially cut him next season to save a fair amount of money.

    I look at a guy like Stephen Williams who is 6’5, fast, and has been making big plays throughout training camp as a potential very cheap replacement. Sure, he’s no Sydney Rice at this point, but Doug Baldwin was no Doug Baldwin when he was just a guy making plays as an undrafted free agent in his first training camp.

    Cutting Sydney doesn’t get you all the way there in terms of being able to pay Harvin’s $67 million contract, plus a large contract for a breakout talent in Golden Tate, but it might make it more possible, along with some other roster moves.

    Having an exceptional athlete like Golden Tate who has taken his play to the next level AND a healthy Percy Harvin for the next few years could be worth paying for. I know that it sucks because that’s what we were all thinking we had for the regular season this year. I’m just trying to look on the bright side of this potential scenario.

    We should also remember that Harvin just turned 25 years old a few months ago.

    (That’s my optimistic post. However, I reserve the right to wallow in sorrow and complain about this contract being a terrible decision in future posts.)

    • Rob Staton

      I suppose you could argue the case for Rice and Tate both having productive years if Wilson continues to grow into a seasoned veteran.

  11. Aaron

    The article linked to in the edit is super informative. Great find. I agree it is encouraging in terms of the time frame for his possible return. Most importantly though, it should quiet some of the fans who have been criticizing Percy for a lack of heart, will to win, team spirit, or whatever.

    This information that Percy was complaining about pain from the injury during OTAs, and could have been available for the start of the season if he’d had the surgery then, clearly places more blame on the Seahawks and their doctors for not doing their due diligence.

    It will be interesting to see if another side of the story is put out that seeks to exonerate the Seahawks organization and doctors from this blame.

    • James

      I am not questioning the Seahawks decision to trade for and sign Percy Harvin, I am questioning the Seahawks medical treatment. The top doctor in the country, probably in the world, has essentially said that the Seahawks doctors misdiagnosed a key player. Their recommended treatment was apparently over-ruled by a more skilled physician. Had Harvin been properly diagnosed in the spring, he would be ready for the regular season. Now that is a real cause for concern.

      • Stephan

        I think we should be careful to judge this situation. We really don’t know how this all transpired, and there has been no clear report on the matter. I know we want answers, but we simply won’t get them from vague reports.

        • Rob Staton

          I think we’re owed some answers, particularly on the matter of Harvin supposedly complaining about a hip injury in the spring.

          • Stephan

            No doubt about that.

            • Nolan

              That’s my biggest problem if this could have been done earlier. Particularly if the word about Harvin being extra cautious why not get it out of the way as soon as possible. That being said we are still in a better position then the niners. We never had Percy and were a damn good team so we really aren’t losing anything, we just aren’t gaining anything. The niners are losing Crabtree who was a big part of there offense that they need to replace. If Harvin is back in early December that can be a blessing a shot in the arm for the stretch drive. Was this trade bad, no I still don’t think so. We will see but I would still do it again

          • HawksMeat

            IN the spring which would mean surgury then he may not have missed a game.

  12. James

    I have counted at least 13 players on the Seahawks that I would have protected ahead of Harvin. This is mostly a case of Percy-we-hardly-knew-ye, at a position as deep as any on the team except for DB. Harvin would have added extra explosiveness, but the Seahawks will still be a top team if this is the last of the major injuries, and when Percy returns in December, it will be a real boost. Key players are lost to injury every year….see Russell Okung in 2010, Russell again in 2011 and James Carpenter too, Carpenter again in 2013, and Doug Baldwin wasn’t right until past the mid point. If this is the last of the key casualties, the Hawks will be fine, but I hope for better performance from the medical staff.

  13. A. Simmons

    We have bad luck trading for receivers. I just wouldn’t do it again. I’m tired of these wimply receivers that come over to the team and can’t stay on the field. Then we spend all our time talking about what could have been. Then we go through the “He’ll be ok next year.” Fact is that this is an injury Percy could have played through. He got paid. Now he collects a check while sitting on the bench. That’s his first year in Seattle after coming off an ankle injury that kept him out 7 games. All this after not getting along with two pro coaches to the point where the team didn’t even want a player of his caliber.

    Hopefully Pete can make this work. I’m having serious buyer’s remorse. I hope Percy comes back and makes us all forget about this. Paying a guy that kind of money to play every time he feels completely healthy is not what Seattle signed up for. He definitely seems like the kind of selfish player that once he gets paid all the problems that were once part of having him on the team grow in proportion to his contract. This garbage really pisses me off.

    • James

      No one in their right mind undergoes major surgery and agonizing rehab just to avoid playing in about 10 football games. I can’t believe people are making this accusation against Harvin. He will not be collecting check for sitting on the bench. Surgery is miserable, and then when the other guys are out practicing, he will be in grueling treatment and physical therapy. Good grief! And the top hip surgeon in the country says Harvin should not “play through the pain” but needs surgery in order to get right and be productive.

      • Stephan


      • A. Simmons

        What about Percy Harvin’s behavior makes you think he is in his right mind?

      • A. Simmons

        And how you going to feel if this becomes a yearly behavior and we lose more dedicated players because of his contract?

        Why wasn’t this diagnosed earlier? He missed minicamp with a hip flexor problem. As far as I know he didn’t work out much with Russell in the offseason. He worked out on his own. What has this guy done for our team? Nothing. He is not a dedicated team guy. Never has been. He is starting off letting the team know that right away. Percy will do what is best for Percy, not what is best for the team.

        We have a one year window on his contract to cut him and not have to pay his guaranteed money. He will be rehabbing during that year. If he doesn’t make it back and we have a choice between keeping guys like Browner, Sherman, Tate, and Baldwin or Percy, I say cut Percy and keep the guys that are dedicated to this team.

        • JW


        • Colin

          You need to chill out. You don’t know anymore about Percy than any of the rest of us do.

        • HawksMeat

          Wow. This is very premature. Cut the guy. A big NO. No front office would trade away a three draft picks and then cut the player before the season starts because the player needs surgury. What kind of message does that send to other players, teams, fans!? The wrong message.

          I understand feelings of frustration, dissappointment, sadness, and every other emotion we all feel about the news, but it is important to step back a bit.

        • Steven

          You have clearly never had hip surgery, nor known anyone who has.

          Also, the reports indicated that he was working with Russell quite a bit during the offseason.

  14. Colin

    The train slows down but it never stops.

    This is still a better team than last year at this time, and we have the most important piece: A franchise QB.

    No sweat. Let the chips fall where they may.

  15. JW

    Perhaps unlike you, I’ve been looking at players drafted at 25 and shortly thereafter since the day of the draft. Not gonna lie, I’m a huge Percy Harvin fan since he entered the league, and get pretty intrigued at the thought of him pairing up with RW for the next 6 years. However, I can’t say I don’t think about Deandre Hopkins, Patterson, Hunter, and wonder what they can do down the line…at roughly 1/15th the cost. Or, for that matter, who might be there in rnd 3 next year..or how Minny turned this trade into, essentially, two first round picks.

    All for what is, in the end, a fine addition of a proven and more accomplished player but an addition to an offense that was already humming along quite well without the expense and drama.

  16. Stuart

    I have had and still having all the same emotions that you shared, from the sky is falling to next man up. The one thing that is for certain, the Seahawks need to draft a top flight receiver next year in the 1st round.

    Next season we could lose Rice (salary casualty), Tate and Baldwin (free agents), and Harvin to injuries (again). Yes I would be fine in trading up if we have to.

    Rob, what do you say? Also LOVE the spell checker!

    • Rob Staton

      Well there’s a premier receiver in next years draft in Marqise Lee plus some guys with major potential (Coleman, Watkins, Evans). It’s a position we’ll keep an eye on.

      • Turp

        Do you think Coleman can fall a bit due to his crappy QB situation?

        • Rob Staton

          Absolutely… but he also has a few issues with his game he needs to iron out. He needs to become more rounded and consistent. I want people to say he could’ve been even better with a superior quarterback… not that he wasn’t all that great because of his quarterback. Right now I think he deserves a late first round grade.

          • Turp

            That’s perfect for us then :).

            On another note, what do you think of Stephen Williams, 6’5 training camp all star?

            • Rob Staton

              Never seen him play Turp. Although I struggle to get too excited about things that get reported in the first few days of camp especially when I can’t watch what’s happening myself. I need to see the pre-season games before passing comment really because that’s all the access I’m going to get. Williams is 27 though and not many receivers break through at that age. Hope he’s one of the very few that do.

              • Turp

                I didn’t realize he was so old, damn. Definitely smells like training camp excitement more than legitimate NFL WR from the scrap heap then. Thanks for the thoughts.

    • A. Simmons

      Now we’re back to drafting and developing a receiver in the 1st round eh. Traded a 1st round pick for an elite receiver, we’re probably going to half to spend another 1st round pick on a receiver and develop him. Then we might lose Tate or Baldwin because of the contract Percy has. This has the stink of a bad trade and contract that is going to damage the team.

    • HawksMeat

      Or TE. TE depth is poor and my favorite TE will probably have nagging foot issues here on out. 🙁 There is a certain husky I would like to see on the Hawks…

  17. James

    Like driving past a car wreck and you just can’t help but look, I was in the car for a good while today and fell so low as to listen to sports talk radio. Everyone in the nut house must have been issued a cell phone with a speed dial to 710 or 950. Once and for all, you DO NOT get surgery if you are a slacker. Major hip surgery is a miserable experience for several weeks, and then you enter a rehab/physical therapy program that is more akin to torture than medical care. You only do it so you can get well. If you want to slack off, you try to “play through it,” which means that you don’t practice all week, just mainly sit around and do light stretching therapy, and then play 3 hrs on Sunday with a pain killer shot and then take the week off again until next Sunday. Sheesh! Percy is doing this so he can slay in the playoffs. Get a grip, folks.

    • A. Simmons

      We’ll see. Right now I’m having flashbacks of Deion Branch, Shaun Alexander, and Houshmanzadeh with much bigger contract.

      I’m not going to spend much time believing in Percy Harvin’s hype until he shows he can stay on the field.

      • Colin

        Harvin is only going to be 26 next year. According to numerous doctors, he shouldn’t have any side effects from the hip.

        The whole “sky is falling” attitude needs to stop.

      • HawksMeat

        Branch and Housh are not half the player Percy is, and all three contracts were goofed by a different FO.

  18. Dan

    I LOVE this article. It really conveys the reality of the situation. The front office took a shot with Harvin and missed (for now). The move will have consequences and all us “homers” will have to face facts: The Harvin injury doesn’t hurt the team as badly as other fans are saying, but it will hurt the salary cap down the road. I’m guessing Tate won’t be in a Seahawks uniform come this time next year.

  19. Belgaron


    Football is violent.

    There is a risk of injury on every play, even with no contact.

    No point in getting worked up over who is fragile, who is faking it, how you would have never wasted a 1st round pick, or made a trade if you knew the risk would come to fruition. It is what it is. If not going to draft or trade for a guy who could be injured playing football, you’ll have an empty locker room.

  20. Don

    The other receivers that were available at #25, Patterson, Hunter, Hopkins, sure looked good during the draft, and look a lot better now.

    I can’t help believe Percy knew his hip was hurting before the trade, and didn’t tell anyone. Percy keeps quiet about it and gets traded elsewhere with a big contract, good for him. The Vikings didn’t know about the injury, and can easily trade him for max value. Everyone is happy. A torn Labrum is not something you can “find” during a physical. It was minor enough that you can run around and appear fine, then after the trade say you “now” got hurt.

    • Colin

      He was fine in OTA’s for quite awhile before it acted up. I’m not doubting the legitimacy of it.

    • Belgaron

      In addition, there is a long ways to go for any of those rookies to play at a high level for 1 season let alone several. To say they would strictly be better options to even a temporarily injured Harvin is a big presumption at this point. Hopefully they’ll be great players but odds are, they could get inured at any point or not live up to their potential.

  21. AlaskaHawk

    I’m pretty disappointed with the injury. RIght now I feel buyer’s remorse. We paid a very high price for a player who is injury prone, and for a position which is not as important as our running backs. What will happen to the core of our secondary as their contracts come up for renewel next year? What will happen to receivers like Rice and Tate? What about Wilson in two years? We can’t pay for them all. We really can’t even afford to pay this much for another non-productive player.

    I guess what the Harvin signing says to me (in hindsight) is that after this year we can kiss two of our best players goodbye. The money just isn’t there for everyone. So who will we send packing? Shall we split the difference, one secondary and one receiver?

    • Belgaron

      With the ‘Hawks so stacked all the way up and down their roster, I applauded the risk and would do it again. In particular, with a late first rounder next year, I’ll be carefully looking at RFAs or trades. This team will be in its prime, time for players who are already there.

      When you draft as well as these guys do, you can afford to take some risks, not many teams are getting close to the number of stars, starters, and even contributors in later rounds the way this FO has been doing every year.

      A healthy Harvin offers a third potential superstar playmaker on offense and a candidate for offensive player of the next few years. He could still recover more quickly than expected and make a difference down the stretch this year. This is why he chose option “surgery” over option “let it drag for a month then do surgery and guarantee not being back this year”. He wants to play in those big big games.

      • AlaskaHawk

        That doesn’t address the issue of paying for the rest of the team.

        • Colin

          You couldn’t pay for the rest of the team even without Percy. They have tough choices to make.

          Sidney will be gone after this year for almost certain. Zach Miller’s cap hits go down. Mike Rob will probably be gone as well. Richard Sherman will probably be a cap casualty, but if Pete and John continue to draft as well as they do, these losses won’t matter. We have a franchise QB and solid roster.

          Let the chips fall where they may.

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