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Back in March, the Seattle Seahawks traded for Percy Harvin to address their lone weakness.
They already had a top-five defense, the league's best running game, and a young, promising quarterback. The only thing they lacked was the sort of game-changing skill player who could create a big play out of nothing, turning Seattle's efficient but plodding offense into something truly dynamic.
Harvin fit that description exactly.
He is the perfect stylistic compliment to Sidney Rice's deep threat and Marshawn Lynch's bruising running style.
That's why Seattle invested so heavily in him. They gave up three draft picks — a 2013 first-rounder, a 2013 seventh-rounder, and a 2014 third-rounder — to get him from Minnesota.
Once the trade was complete, they gave him a new contract that included $25.5 million in guaranteed money.
It's the sort of "all in" move that you only make if you're one player away from seriously contending for the Super Bowl.
It turns out that his was a miscalculation. As their league-best 14-3 record shows, they were always good enough to win the Super Bowl. The Harvin trade has proved unnecessary.
Harvin has barely played this year. He appeared in one game during the regular season. Last night, he took two brutal hits to the head and left his team's 23-15 win against the Saints with a concussion. All in all, he has appeared in less than 50 snaps as a Seahawk, making four catches.
This was always a risk. Harvin has struggled to stay on the the field throughout most of his NFL career — missing 25 of 80 regular season games (about one-third of all games) in five seasons.
The trade cost Seattle its first-round pick last year, which was 25th overall. At the time, wide receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and Cordarrelle Patterson were still on the board. Neither of these guys is as good as Harvin when he's healthy and at his best. But it turns out the Seahawks didn't really need a "Percy Harvin at his best"-type player to be successful.
Seattle — one of the best drafting teams in the league in recent years — could have saved those three picks, pocketed the $25.5 million, and still been a Super Bowl contender while also having depth and cap flexibility going forward.
Harvin still has a long-term deal in Seattle, and he's not going anywhere with all the guaranteed money he's scheduled to make. We've seen players make dramatic recoveries from injuries in recent years, and there's no reason he can't do the same.
But this team made a massive, franchise-altering investment in Harvin, and so far they have nothing to show for it.
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