The Seahawks have taken a lot of gambles under Pete Carroll and John Schneider since they arrived in 2010. Most of them have been minor wagers: the trade for Charlie Whitehurst; the deals for Leon Washington, Chris Clemons and Marshawn Lynch; signing Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards, etc.
They also fortunately have been stonewalled against ill-conceived ideas such as acquiring Brandon Marshall or Vincent Jackson or wooing Peyton Manning.
The Percy Harvin deal was easily the biggest gamble they have taken. They did it against our “advice,” and they have at least temporarily lost that bet.
One of these days, perhaps the Seahawks will learn not to throw a bunch of money at wide receivers.
This is the fourth time they have done it in eight years, and none of the guys have been worth it.
Deion Branch was Tim Ruskell’s big trade in 2006. Like Harvin, Branch was acquired for a first-round pick (Harvin also cost a third and seventh) and signed to a monster deal (although Branch’s $39 million is peanuts next to Harvin’s $67 million). Branch was injured for most of his four-plus years in Seattle and traded back to New England by Schneider in October 2010.
After the Hawks suffered through a plague at the receiver position in 2008, Ruskell overpaid aging possession catcher T.J. Houshmandzadeh at $40 million over five years. He caught 79 passes for 911 yards and three touchdowns in 2009 but often sabotaged quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the offense by running wrong routes while freelancing. Schneider and Carroll cut him in 2010 even though the Hawks owed him $7 million guaranteed.
In 2010 and 2011, they explored options for acquiring Marshall and Jackson — fortunately losing out on both.
In 2011, they brought in oft-injured Sidney Rice at almost the same price tag as Housh — $41 million over five years. He’s a very good receiver, especially on any kind of sideline route, but he is very fragile and cannot be counted on long term (as his visit to Switzerland for a knee procedure further indicates).
He was a darkhorse candidate for release if he did not take a pay cut this year, but Harvin’s injury eliminates that possibility as the Hawks need all veteran hands on deck at the receiver position if they are going to take a step up from last season’s playoff disappointment.
As we said previously, Harvin’s absence does not hurt the Hawks, who won 11 games plus a playoff contest without him last season. He was simply a bonus baby.
His absence means the Hawks likely will keep two in addition to Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. The top contenders are an apparently much-improved Jermaine Kearse, fourth-round pick Chris Harper and 6-foot-5 Stephen Williams.
Harvin is expected to return by December, which begs this question: Will the Hawks avoid the Joey Galloway effect?
In 1999, Galloway held out in a contract dispute with first-year coach Mike Holmgren. The franchise player returned in time to get free-agent credit for the season, playing the final eight games. And the Hawks ruined the offense, as Jon Kitna continually tried to force the ball to Galloway.
If Harvin returns to a Seattle offense that is clicking along, fans have to hope offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterback Russell Wilson are smarter than that and do not try to force Harvin into the game plan.
In the meantime, Harvin is just the Seahawks’ latest bad gamble on a big-money receiver.