Why the Seahawks put all their eggs in Percy Harvin's basket
Newest Seahawk Percy Harvin is suddenly Seattle's Most Interesting Man. To hear Pete Carroll and John Schneider tell it, Harvin put the first set of jeans on Smokey Bear, outwitted Steven Colbert and advised Pope Benedict it was time.
"Highly unique," said Schneider, reaching for a linguistic frontier where grammarians fear to tread. Indeed, Harvin must be something special: Carroll said he's been recruiting him since high school seven years ago. He only spent a year on Reggie Bush.
But now Carroll is capable of paying Harvin a little more than USC paid Bush: six years and $67 million. That includes his $2.5 million salary in 2013 and a $12 million guaranteed bonus, plus another $11 million guaranteed after the first season, per profootballtalk.com.
While we in Seattle can swagger about, saying that makes him only half-a-Hernandez, it's still pretty good for a guy who has yet to play a complete NFL season. Much less one that was labeled in various media accounts as a head case, a time bomb, a diva and a serial remover of the "do-not-remove" tags on pillows during his four-year incarceration with the Minnesota Vikings.
Those kinds of unkindnesses don't seem to have followed Seattle's Marshawn Lynch, Bruce Irvin or other alleged malcontents during Carroll's tenure. Carroll apparently lays hands upon them and the youngsters abruptly leap into a Norman Rockwell painting.
Character issues have a way of blending into the roar surrounding a winning team. And the Seahawks were 12-6 last year and 30 seconds away from the NFC title game. So news of the acquisition of Harvin — receiver, running back, kickoff returner and the primary figurative aneurysm for San Francisco coach and noted neurotic Jim Harbaugh — has added to the roar in the fashion of an Aleutian windstorm.
At a guaranteed $25.5 million to one player among 53 for one season of 2013, this deal can't be more in the moment than the period at the end of this sentence. The goal is nearly as simple:
Twice, three times if necessary, in 2013.
That is the deal for one of the most dramatic trades in Seahawks history: Seattle is giving Minnesota its first-round and seventh-round draft picks from the April draft, and a third-rounder from the 2014 draft, plus they're giving Harvin the magnum cash. And this from a franchise that guards its draft picks like Lance Armstrong used to guard his medicine kit.
"Stop it," said Schneider, smiling, when a reporter counted down the treasure surrendered at a press conference Tuesday at team headquarters. "I understand why you would look at the compensation. But this is a highly unique player. If you place Percy in this draft, there would be some pretty strong arguments of how high he would go, and it would be pretty darn high."
"We’re sitting at 25th [in the first round] and for us to be able to even move up five spots it would take probably a third-round draft pick. Really, this is kind of a slam dunk for us. You have to stay true to your draft board, but there’s also opportunities like this that come up. Frankly, this is something that we have studied from afar, and were prepared for. It popped Friday and that’s the way we went.”
Here's how it popped in Minneapolis: Vikings all-galaxy running back Adrian Peterson tweeted that it was like "getting kicked in the stomach five times" to lose Harvin. Also gasping were Seahawks fans who had been lulled into thinking that a fairly complete 2012 team would be cautious in the free-agent-signing period that began Tuesday, then load up in the draft in late April. Few were thinking trade.
But Carroll was as righteously convinced about Harvin as he has been about any acquisition in his Seahawks tenure.
"There is not a football player that we could find that would compete more and battle more than this guy right here," he said, pointing to his tablemate. "He’ll fit in right with us.”
Harvin has had sideline clashes with his previous coach, Brad Childress, and the current Vikings coach, Leslie Frazier. He had moments of insubordination with his college coach, Urban Meyer, at Florida. And he thought the Vikings' current QB, Christian Ponder, wasn't very good, and said so. There were many in the Twin Cities who agreed, but they weren't paid to be his teammate.
So yes, Harvin has accumulated a lot of baggage for one who won't be 25 until May. On the other hand, he is now rich beyond even his published demands, has a coach who has liked him since his junior prom in Viriginia Beach, VA. and will be given almost as many touches of the ball as Kobe Bryant.
And he gets to play catch with Russell Wilson, probably the biggest reason the Seahawks felt good about going deep for Harvin.
"He was texting me from the moment that this thing was put together," Harvin said. "He was already texting me things that we were going to do this off-season. We’re set to go to California and work out already."
They met at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center video room, where Wilson was studying. "Season hasn't even started yet, man," said Harvin, smiling.
Actually, in RussWorld, the season never stopped. Harvin will get used to that. Being Seattle's Most Interesting Man is a temporary honor, on loan from Wilson, owner of label and town.
Stay thirsty, Seahawks friends.