Seahawks trade Percy Harvin to Jets for draft pick

Oct 17, 2014, 2:44 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2014, 9:16 pm
Seattle has traded Percy Harvin less than two years after acquiring him in a blockbuster move. (AP)

The Seahawks gave Percy Harvin the biggest contract in franchise history. Less than two years later they have given up on him, trading the wide receiver to the Jets on Friday in a move that is nothing short of shocking.

The Seahawks receive a conditional sixth-round pick in 2015 that can become a fourth-round pick, according to the NFL Network. That’s less compensation than what was initially reported.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports was the first to report the trade, stating it’s contingent upon Harvin passing a physical. Seahawks general Manager John Schneider confirmed the trade Saturday morning.

“Although this was an extremely difficult decision, we are constantly evaluating our team and believe at this time, that this is in our best interest to move the team forward,” Schneider said in a statement. “We thank Percy for his efforts that contributed to a Super Bowl XLVIII victory and wish him well.”

Harvin’s tenure with the Seahawks will end with two touchdowns and several tantalizing moments, 16 games missed due to injuries and plenty of questions about why it didn’t work out.

The timing of this move is what makes it so surprising, and not only because it comes with the 3-2 Seahawks trying to repeat as Super Bowl champions, the story breaking just as they were heading to St. Louis for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

It also comes just a year and a half after Seattle paid a fortune for Harvin, first sending three draft picks to Minnesota – a haul that included first- and seventh-round selections in 2013 and a third-rounder in 2014 – and then giving him a contract that included a $12 million signing bonus and a maximum value of $67 million.

When you consider the compensation Seattle is receiving from the Jets along with the minimal return the Seahawks got out of their giant investment, one of the biggest moves in franchise history amounts to an unequivocal bust.

That the Seahawks were already willing to cut their losses with Harvin points to the likelihood that even with all his talent he was no longer worth the trouble.

It was viewed as a considerable risk when the Seahawks made that trade with Minnesota considering everything they were giving up as well as the concerns about Harvin’s always-tenuous availability and his reportedly temperamental attitude.

One of the NFL’s most explosive players on the field, Harvin came to Seattle with a reputation as volatile off of it, too. And as soon as the news of Friday’s trade came down, various reports of confrontations and discord were being cited as reasons why the Seahawks were moving on so soon from a player they gave up so much to acquire.

One Tweet from 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard indicated Harvin had clashed with at least one of his fellow wide receivers. Another from Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times stated that Harvin “didn’t want to go back in at the end of the game Sunday against Dallas.”

So ends a Seahawks career that didn’t start off all that well, either. At the outset of what was going to be his first training camp with Seattle, news broke that Harvin was surprisingly headed for hip surgery. He missed the first 10 games then returned to face his former team only to be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season. He then sustained a concussion in the divisional round of the playoffs that kept him out of the NFC title game.

What NFL insiders told 710 ESPN Seattle about the Percy Harvin trade

Danny O’Neil: Initial reaction to the news
John Clayton: ‘Had to be an issue’ with Harvin
Adam Schefter: What the Seahawks told him
Daniel Jeremiah: A former scout’s take on Harvin
Tom Pelissero: Ex-Vikes reporter on Harvin’s past
Mike Salk: Why he likes the move for Seattle

Harvin was as good as advertised when he was on the field. His eight games with Seattle included a 58-yard kickoff return in his Seahawks debut, an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl and a 51-yard touchdown run in the second game of this season. That’s not to mention his three scores that were nullified against Washington two weeks ago.

Seattle is considerably less talented without Harvin. One thing the Seahawks gain by trading him, though, is some financial flexibility now that his contract will no longer be counting more than $11 million annually against their salary cap. That’s significant with the giant bill coming due for quarterback Russell Wilson, one of several key players who at season’s end will be a free agent or eligible for an extension.

But the financial ramifications are concerns for another time. For now, this trade leaves so many immediate questions for the Seahawks, including how their offense will fare without its most explosive weapon.

Seattle won the Super Bowl last season largely without Harvin, but he was more of a luxury than a necessity in a wide-receiver corps that had Golden Tate and – for half the season, at least – Sidney Rice.

It’s a different much group this year. Seattle spent a second-round pick on Paul Richardson and a fourth-rounder on Kevin Norwood, but Richardson has the lone catch between those two while Norwood hasn’t even been active for a game. Harvin’s departure figures to push those two along with Bryan Walters into larger roles in a group that will be headlined by Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette.

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