Dave Boling

Dave Boling: Harvin trade sends message to rest of Seahawks

Wonder if any of the Seahawks are going to grumble about not getting the ball Sunday against the Rams?

I’m guessing not.

Perhaps as soon as Sunday afternoon we’ll be able to tell if everybody got the message of Percy Harvin’s trade: If you don’t get on board, we’ll not only send you down the road, we’ll trade you to the Jets.

And, by the way, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you cost us.

Sunday’s game will provide the first evidence of how the rest of the team reacts to Friday’s stunning trade of Harvin.

This was a bold message. It was an admission of a calculated risk that proved to be miscalculated, but also a declaration that no individual is more valuable than the team unity they’re trying to sustain.

From accounts that were effectively shushed when Harvin was on the team, it sounds as if he had a number of personality — and physical — clashes with teammates.

Apparently, there are factions in the locker room on both sides of the Harvin issue. So, like so many bold moves, this one could go either way. Maybe they’ll feel relieved he’s gone; maybe they’ll feel it was heavy-handed.

We certainly could see the tension building on the sideline and in the locker room after last Sunday’s loss to Dallas at home, which dropped the defending world champs to 3-2.

On Monday, coach Pete Carroll explained that he’s got a group of highly competitive men who get frustrated with losses.

So, he was asked, how do you keep frustration from becoming dissension? How do you funnel it into motivation?

The answer came Friday, when the Seahawks excised what they decided was a part of the problem.

It was an expensive bit of housecleaning. Harvin cost the Hawks three draft picks, including a first-rounder, and $18.4 million for the eight games in which he participated.

In the end, Harvin made former Hawks flameout T.J. Houshmandzadeh look like a bargain and Deion Branch seem a steal. And that’s after factoring in the small return of a conditional draft pick from the Jets, and some cap relief in upcoming seasons.

Without him, they’d have another first-round pick developing on the field, been more likely to keep Golden Tate, too, a solid receiver and punt returner, saving them a roster spot on game day.

After recovering from the hip surgery that put him on the shelf for most of last season, Harvin showed his skills in the Super Bowl, returning the second-half kickoff for a touchdown that broke the game open.

Perhaps cold to say this now, but they made it to the Super Bowl without him, and would have won whether he returned that kick or not.

This season, he certainly appeared to practice well and hard. In fact, he was on the field more than they thought he’d be.

They knew the risks when they got him from Minnesota: a history of health and attitude problems. But his explosiveness and versatility warranted the risk.

Who would be better at managing Harvin’s issues and maximizing his production than coach Pete Carroll? After all, when Buffalo tired of Marshawn Lynch’s baggage, the Hawks picked him up cheaply and rode him to a Super Bowl win.

But Harvin’s effectiveness on the field was not only limited, but a distraction from the run-first approach that took the Hawks to success in the first place.

By cutting their losses at this point, it became a little easier to come up with the money to pay quarterback Russell Wilson and a few key defenders next season.

It will be interesting to see how Lynch responds to the ditching of Harvin. There’s no question that Lynch not only fits what they’re trying to do on the field, but is the very embodiment of it.

But he has acted out a few times, too, coming off the field once during the Dallas game and appearing to bite his helmet in frustration.

Which way does he go, now? And if he checks out, the effects on the team are far greater than the loss of Harvin.

The Harvin tenure in Seattle was an inarguable failure, the worst move of a front office that has been so exceptional in building this team to elite status.

The thing about running a football team, though, is you’ve got to look forward at how you can fix things rather than back at what you did wrong.

Of course Harvin was appealing. The speed, the breakaway ability, the versatility. And when he flashed those traits, it was so obvious the ways he could change a game with a single touch of the football.

After one impressive preseason game, I asked his old Vikings teammate Tarvaris Jackson to assess his skills.

“He’s more than just a special player,” Jackson said. “He’s one of a kind.”

In the end, he wasn’t special at all, just another Houshmandzadeh — an overpriced mistake they had to pay to go away.

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