Percy Harvin trade and risk-reward tradeoffs

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
12:00
PM ET

The Seattle Seahawks could not have known before acquiring Percy Harvin from Minnesota that the dynamic receiver would require hip surgery before he played a snap for the team. They certainly knew Harvin carried medical risks in general, however. The fact that Harvin will have surgery Thursday exposes the Seahawks to criticism from those who considered Harvin prone to injuries.

Now, what? The trade to acquire Harvin becomes a short-term success if he returns in time to play a leading role in the playoffs this season. The trade becomes a long-term success if Harvin produces at a high level upon returning from this injury. But if Harvin continues on the course that led him to miss practices frequently and 11 of 67 total games (16.4 percent) with Minnesota, Seattle will fall far short of getting adequate return on investment.

Injuries happen. Good decisions sometimes turn out badly. Still, the Harvin acquisition was the highest-risk move Seattle has made since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider arrived in 2010. The risk stemmed from the massive contract Harvin received ($25.5 million guaranteed) and the draft picks Seattle sent to Minnesota after the team that knew Harvin best, the Vikings, decided he wasn't worth the investment.

Seattle hasn't been afraid to wheel and deal under Schneider and Carroll. We recount some of the trades here.

Five trades to like

2010: Seattle trades Darryl Tapp to the Philadelphia Eagles for Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick used for E.J. Wilson. Clemons fits the Seahawks' defense perfectly and quickly becomes a quality starter. Tapp remained a rotational player.

2010: Seattle trades a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 conditional choice to Buffalo for running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch becomes the team's most important player on offense, at least until Russell Wilson arrives in 2012.

2010: Seattle trades a 2010 fifth-round pick to the New York Jets for Leon Washington, and a 2010 seventh-rounder used for Dexter Davis. Washington scores four touchdowns on kickoff returns over three seasons with Seattle. Washington was an injury risk, but Seattle gave up relatively little to get him.

2010: Seattle trades receiver Deion Branch to New England for a 2011 fourth-round pick used to select linebacker K.J. Wright. This one makes the list only because Wright panned out as the fourth and final 4-3 strong-side linebacker drafted that year.

2011: Seattle trades cornerback Kelly Jennings to Cincinnati for defensive lineman Clinton McDonald. Jennings did not fit in a super-sized Seattle secondary. McDonald became a valuable rotation player for the Seahawks.

Two trades to spike

2010: Seattle trades a 2010 second-round choice and a 2011 third-rounder to San Diego for quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and a lower 2010 second-round choice. The Seahawks needed to acquire quarterbacks, but Whitehurst never impressed before or after joining Seattle.

2010: Seattle trades guard Rob Sims to Detroit for Robert Henderson and a 2010 fifth-round pick. This one doesn't look so bad in retrospect because that fifth-round choice became Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor. Unfortunately, Sims was a good, young starter at a position where Seattle needed good, young starters. Sims didn't necessarily fit the scheme Seattle's line coach at the time, Alex Gibbs, was running. But Gibbs wasn't long for the job and Seattle would wind up using future picks for guards, notably John Moffitt and James Carpenter, who converted from tackle.

Note: Trade info from prosportstransactions.com.

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