Well, that's the end of that problem of getting Percy Harvin the ball down field more, or too much.
The Seahawks have stunningly traded their highest-paid player of 2014, their wide receiver and part-time tailback around whom most of the offense has revolved for the first five games of this season, to the New York Jets for a still-to-be determined draft choice.
That's sure one way to get the Seahawks' offense re-centered on handing the ball more to Marshawn Lynch.
They traded the man who has been the centerpiece of play caller Darrell Bevell’s offense this season, a star of February’s Super Bowl who said in August he was finally feeling faster and healthier than he’d been in a decade since high school because of offseason hip surgery, after just 19 months with him. That indicates Harvin became a problem beyond catches and runs, a divisive detriment in the locker room.
For the Seahawks, he became a bad fit that had to go, pronto.
The Seahawks saved $7,117,647 in base pay with the trade of Harvin. That's the prorated amount left on his $11 million salary for this year on his contract he signed with Seattle in March 2013. That deal still has four years remaining on it, at salaries of $10.5 million next season, $9.9 million in 2016, $9.95 million in 2017 and $11.15 million in 2018. The Jets, of course, can re-negotiate that.
Seattle does take an accelerated salary-cap hit of about $7.2 million from Harvin's $12 million signing bonus it had already paid him, as part of the $25.5 million guaranteed Harvin got when he signed his deal. But now the Seahawks don't have that $2.4 million annual hit against their caps for 2015, '16 and '17 for Harvin's signing bonus.
Not having Harvin's $10.5 million salary in 2015 -- assuming Seattle wasn't going to cut him or re-negotiate his deal -- should help the Seahawks re-sign the soon-to-be expiring contracts of quarterback Russell Wilson and linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright in the next year or two.
And it could end up keeping Lynch in Seattle beyond this season. After all, who else is now the center of the Seahawks' offense but him?
It also elevates Doug Baldwin to No. 1 on the depth chart at wide receiver, and perhaps makes him Seattle’s new kickoff returner. Harvin was averaging 23.6 yards per return on 12 run backs this season. That includes a 46 yarder to begin the season against Green Bay.
Rookie wide receivers Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood will now also get more roles than they have had so far, which for each has been no role and mostly inactive on game days.
Make no mistake, this certifies the Seahawks' trade in March 2013 with Minnesota for Harvin one of the worst the league has seen in a while, and Friday's deal is definitely a case of Seattle cutting its losses. For the $18.4 million they paid Harvin, the three draft picks including a first-rounder they sent to Minnesota last year to get him plus some future salary-cap considerations, Seattle got eight games with a wondrous Super Bowl from Harvin, including five this season in which he was 153rd out of all 161 NFL wide receivers that have caught a pass in average yards per reception.
Thanks to a bevy of bubble-screen calls for him by Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell – Harvin’s coordinator in Minnesota in 2009 and ’10, Harvin’s first two years in the league -- Harvin’s average of 6.0 yards per reception is tied for 153rd among all 161 NFL wide receivers that have caught at least one ball this season. Among the seven wide receivers in the league that have a lower yardage average per reception than Harvin, no one has more than five catches.
Harvin’s average yards per reception on his 22 catches was less than half that of Robert Turbin. Seattle’s hurry-up-offense fill-in has averaged 13 yards per catch out of the backfield.
But this trade has to be about more than on-field production.
The Seahawks sent awtay he man who has been the centerpiece of play caller Darrell Bevell’s offense this season, a star of February’s Super Bowl who said in August he was finally feeling faster and healthier than he’d been in a decade since high school because of offseason hip surgery, after just 19 months with him. That indicates Harvin may have done something off the field or in the locker room the Seahawks felt it he had to go, pronto.
Warren Moon, the former Seahawk and Hall-of-Fame quarterback who is now the team’s radio analyst for game broadcast, told Seattle’s 1090 AM “The Fan” Friday after the trade: “Chemistry on any team is very important. I think in some ways Percy upset that chemistry."
Harvin has 22 catches for 133 yards plus 11 carries for another 92 yards on the ground, including a 51-yard sprint down the sidelines for his only touchdown so far this season Sept. 14 in the loss at San Diego. He is averaging only 4.9 yards per catch since his splashy opening against Green Bay last month. STATS, Inc. says he is catching the ball, on average, just 1.1 yards past the line of scrimmage this season – essentially a running back split out wide, at a cost of $11 million this season.
But that’s not the Seahawks’ concern anymore.
Here's how this went down, and it was, um, peculiar, to say the least: The team left on buses here from team headquarters for the airport and the flight to St. Louis for Sunday's game at the Rams just as Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first broke the news of the trade this afternoon. That was about 90 minutes after Harvin finished practicing with the Seahawks inside the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Immediately at the end of practice, Carroll unusually disappeared away instead of meeting with the media as he normally does as soon as practice ends and went upstairs where Schneider's office is. A team spokesman left and then 10 minutes later, Carroll reappeared. It seems as though the trade may have been going down then, or at least that Carroll was learning of its consummation from general manager John Schneider upstairs then.
Jets general manager John Idzik was the Seahawks' vice president of football administration from 2007-2012. He worked with Seahawks general manager John Schneider here from 2010-12 and was the team's salary-cap guru.
To say this surprised Harvin's now-former Seahawks teammates is an understatement. They've spent the recent months watching offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell run three of the season's first eight plays for Harvin, run fly sweeps for Harvin, line Harvin up at tailback for read-option runs, call more bubble screens than there are bubbles in Washington state -- all for Harvin. And now he's gone for a conditional draft pick to the Jets.
Then there's this from Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, the team's radio analyst:
Carroll even commented on Harvin's thigh injury and his "questionable" status for Sunday's game -- and didn't comment on the trade when asked about Harvin's availability for the Rams game.
"He made it through today," Carroll said of Harvin.
All the way to the New York Jets.
Sunday, more than ever, is high time for Seahawks to base offense around Lynch's power running. Bevell's Harvin-centric game plan of 2014 just changed.