RENTON — Trading away a first round pick is always a risk in the NFL, especially when you do so for the right to then hand a player a lucrative new contract.
But the way the Seahawks view it, acquiring Percy Harvin wasn’t so much a gamble as it was a no-brainer. Harvin, whose trade to Seattle from Minnesota became official Tuesday, cost the Seahawks the No. 25 pick in this year’s draft as well as a seventh-round pick this year and a third-round pick in 2014. On top of that, the Seahawks signed Harvin to a new deal which is reportedly worth as much as $67 million over six years, with $25.5 million in guaranteed money.
If that’s what it took to get Harvin, who Seahawks general manager John Schneider calls “one of the top players in this league,” it was a price they were happy to pay.
“I understand why you would look at the compensation, but this is a highly unique player,” Schneider said. “If you placed Percy in this draft, there would be some pretty strong arguments about how high he would go, and it would be pretty darn high. … So really, this is kind of a slam dunk for us.”
And as excited as Schneider and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll were about adding Harvin, the receiver might have been even happier about the trade. Harvin has been one of the game’s most explosive players since coming into the league in 2009, but for reasons he would not get into — he said it wasn’t contract related — he grew unhappy with the Vikings and, according to reports, asked for a trade this offseason.
Harvin had nothing but good things to say about his former team and its fans during Tuesday’s press conference, but he was also thrilled to land with a contending team with an up-and-coming quarterback.
And while Harvin didn’t say anything bad about his former quarterback, Christian Ponder, the way he raved about Russell Wilson at every opportunity was pretty telling about how he views his new team’s quarterback situation compared to the Vikings’. Not surprisingly, Harvin saw Russell Wilson alone in the film room upon his first visit to Seahawks headquarters.
“That’s one of the things I was looking for, a quarterback who wants to win, who has it,” Harvin said. “I was looking for that leader, and we seem to have that here. For a receiver, when you’ve got a quarterback who wants to do that, when you get out on the field, it’s that much easier. I love that.
In Seattle, Harvin reunites with former Vikings teammate Sidney Rice, and one of the first things Rice did after the trade was tell Harvin about Wilson’s work ethic.
“Sid and I, coming from Minnesota, we were used that kind of stuff, especially playing with Brett Favre,” Harvin said. “So when I got here, the first thing he said was, ‘if you think Brett Favre was something, wait until you see this guy prepare.’ So when I heard that, it automatically opened my eyes even wider. And as soon as I walked into the building, he was the only one in the meeting room watching film, so I was like, this guy is too real.”
Carroll, who tried to get Harvin to USC seven years ago, is excited about what Harvin can bring to the offense. Harvin is listed as a receiver, but one of the things that made him one of the game’s most exciting offensive players is the versatility that makes him a big-play threat catching the ball and running out of the backfield.
“We have a diverse offense, we do a lot of cool things and we’re not going to change a lot of stuff — we’re just going to add him in and fit in the things that he does so well to go along and complement the guys we already have,” Carroll said. “He will get the ball in his hands a number of ways, and he will return kicks for us, too, so we’re excited about that. He’s a dynamic kick returner, and he lit up when I mentioned special teams to him. He’s all for it, so we’re going to do that too.”
A lot has been made of Harvin’s supposed character issues, but Carroll said after talking to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Harvin in Minnesota, he had no concerns.
“It was obviously our first stop,” Carroll said. “As soon as the opportunity arose that maybe there was a chance, we went right to Darrell. Darrell had nothing but the highest regard for Percy, for his attitude, his competitiveness, the flexibility and range of playmaking ability that he has. … Darrell knew his background, he knew his character, he knew his personality, he knew his relationships in the locker room and stood for all of that. … That’s a very big plus for us. Percy’s been in the system and the language and the terminology will be extremely close to what he’s done, so we’ll get great carryover and it will accelerate his process.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.