By John Boyle
Acquiring Percy Harvin cost the Seahawks a lot. Not just because they had to pay him—reportedly $67 million over six years, including $25.5 in guaranteed money—but also because they gave up three draft picks, including the No. 25 pick this year.
But despite the steep price they paid for Harvin, the Seahawks feel like it was an easy decision if it meant adding a player John Schneider called “One of the top players in this league.”
“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.
Schneider added that moving up even five spots or so in the first round would probably require giving up a third-round pick, which is what Seattle is giving up in the 2014 draft, “So really this is kind of a slam dunk for us.”
Pete Carroll, who tried to get Harvin to USC seven years ago, is excited about what Harvin can bring to the offense.
“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 compliment the guys we already have,” he 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.”
And yes, a lot has been made of Harvin’s potential 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.”
Harvin had nothing but good things to say about his former team, but was clearly thrilled for this new opportunity. And while he 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.”
“(Sidney Rice and I), coming from Minnesota, we were used that kind of stuff, especially playing with Brett Favre, 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.”
A few other notes, Harvin, who has battled migraines in the past, said he’s been migraine free for two years… Despite the big money, Harvin will still return kickoffs (which explains why Seattle released Leon Washington), though Harvin said Carroll will “manage” his returns, so it may be a situation where Harvin is not returning every kick in every game. Harvin admitted he was concerned a new contract would mean the end of his returning days, so he was excited Carroll wants to keep him in that role.