Seahawks trade Percy Harvin to Jets as issues emerge
The Seahawks, according to sources, had decided Percy Harvin “just wasn’t a fit” with the rest of the team and the trade had as much to do with what was happening in the locker room as it did Harvin’s production on the field.
Seattle Times staff reporters
Here’s the deal
What the Seahawks get: A conditional draft pick in 2015.
What the Jets get: Wide receiver Percy Harvin.
RENTON – In a move that shocked the NFL, the Seahawks on Friday traded receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets for a conditional 2015 draft pick.
One source confirmed to The Seattle Times on Friday that the deal, first reported by Fox Sports, was agreed upon and an official announcement was made by the teams on Saturday morning. The trade does not become official until Harvin passes a physical.
One source told The Times the Seahawks had decided Harvin, 26, “just wasn’t a fit” with the rest of the team and the trade had as much to do with what was happening in the locker room as it did Harvin’s production on the field. The team, a source said, was “just ready to move on” from Harvin despite his obvious on-field gifts.
Sources also said a few incidents in recent months helped set the stage for Friday’s stunning trade.
One source confirmed a report that Harvin had gotten into an altercation with former Seahawk Golden Tate before the Super Bowl that resulted in Tate getting a black eye.
A source also said Harvin had an altercation with Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin in the week leading up to the final exhibition game this August at Oakland that resulted in Baldwin getting a cut on his chin and each player being excused from practices that week. Harvin, who did not practice for two days before that game, did not make the trip to Oakland for what the team said at the time was “a personal matter.”
One final straw, a league source said, came in Sunday’s 30-23 loss to Dallas when Harvin apparently balked at going back into the game in the fourth quarter. Harvin played 26 of 48 official snaps but did not play 11 of the final 17. He finished with six touches for minus-1 yard.
“He’s just a time bomb,” one NFL source said, describing him as “too moody” and noting that Minnesota had also grown tired of dealing with Harvin, which precipitated his trade to Seattle in March 2013.
Also a factor in the trade is that moving Harvin and his hefty contract will clear up significant salary-cap space, with one source saying it will help the team keep quarterback Russell Wilson and linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. All are players the team could re-sign or extend after the 2014 season.
The Seahawks acquired Harvin before the 2013 draft for first- and seventh-round picks in 2013 and a third-rounder in 2014 and then signed him to a six-year deal worth as much as $67 million, hoping he would be the final piece to winning a Super Bowl.
That contract included $25.5 million in guaranteed money and the Seahawks have paid him roughly $18.3 million, including salary and bonuses. However, the team will save roughly $6.4 million this year in 2014 salary that the Jets will now pick up. The Seahawks can now forward that savings to their 2015 cap if they don’t use it this year.
The Seahawks will also save another $5.7 million in 2015 cap space.
Players were not available for comment, but several Seahawks referred to the trade in tweets, including defensive end Cliff Avril, who wrote: “This business is crazy. ... hate to see my boy Percy Harvin go.”
While Harvin arrived in Seattle with much ballyhoo after four seasons in Minnesota, there was little payoff other than a kickoff return for a touchdown in the 43-8 victory over Denver in the Super Bowl.
Harvin’s Seattle career got off to a belated start as he had hip surgery the first week of training camp in 2013 that kept him out until November. It was telling that the announcement of the surgery was made by Harvin on his Twitter account and not via the team, as is usually the case.
Harvin made his Seattle debut Nov. 17 against Minnesota, his former team, making one catch for 17 yards and returning a kickoff 58 yards. But he reinjured the hip and did not play again until the postseason.
He played in a divisional playoff game against New Orleans, but a concussion held him out of the NFC title game against the 49ers. He returned to play in the Super Bowl when his 87-yard return of a kickoff to begin the second half helped clinch Seattle’s win.
Harvin played all five games this season and made a team-high 22 catches for 133 yards. But there had been questions about how he was fitting into Seattle’s offense after Sunday’s game.
There were reports after the trade that Harvin was unhappy with his role, but he did not go public with any complaints, telling reporters Thursday he was just “staying within the offense. When my number is called, I’m trying to do it to the best of my ability.”
And in the Jets, the Seahawks found a friendly trading partner for Harvin.
John Idzik, who is in his second year as general manager of the Jets, served as vice president of football administration for Seattle from 2007 to 2012.
The Jets have been hunting for a receiver, and after falling to 1-6 with a loss Thursday night at New England, they were apparently willing to take a chance on Harvin. The Jets had $20 million in unused salary-cap space for this season.
The Seahawks gave no hint of the trade as they left the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Friday after practice. Harvin practiced with the team and then was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, which was sent to the media at 1:25 p.m.
However, Carroll’s post-practice meeting with the team was delayed as he ran upstairs to the team offices, then returned to meet the media after about 10 minutes. When asked about Harvin’s status for the game, he said only that he had practiced and would be listed as questionable.
The team then boarded buses for a flight to St. Louis with the trade announced as the team was on its way to the airport.
|Bang for the bucks?|
|Percy Harvin crossed the goal line five times in his eight games for the Seahawks, though three of them were wiped out by penalties in Seattle’s Monday night game against Washington earlier this month. A look at the touchdowns:|
|87-yard kickoff return||Denver||Easily his most memorable moment with the Seahawks, as this score put the Super Bowl out of reach for the Broncos.|
|51-yard run||San Diego||An electrifying play that should have been overturned because he stepped out of bounds.|
|16-yard run||Washington||Similar play as the one against the Chargers, it was wiped out by a holding call on James Carpenter.|
|26-yard reception||Washington||He broke free on the next play, but this one was nullified by a false start on Harvin.|
|41-yard reception||Washington||He stretched the field, but the touchdown was wiped out by an unnecessary roughness call on Carpenter.|
|What the Seahawks gave up for Harvin|
|The Seahawks traded away three draft picks to the Vikings to acquire Percy Harvin. Here’s how those picks turned out:|
|2013 first round, 25th overall||CB Xavier Rhodes||Has played in 19 games for Vikings, including six this year.|
|2013 seventh round, 214th overall||G Travis Bond||Bounced around three teams; currently not on an NFL roster|
|2014 third round, 96th overall||RB Jerick McKinnon||Has played in all six games this season for the Vikings.|