BY Art Thiel 07:55PM 03/12/2013

Thiel: What’s the deal, 49ers? Percy Harvin

The Seahawks committed a lot ($25.5 million and three draft picks) to one guy for one season for one reason: Beating the 49ers. One word: Wow.

The trade for Percy Harvin was one of the most dramatic moves in Seahawks history. / Art Thiel, Sportspress Northwest

Newest Seahawk Percy Harvin suddenly is Seattle’s Most Interesting Man. To hear Pete Carroll and John Schneider tell it, Harvin put the first set of jeans on Smokey Bear, outwitted Steven Colbert and advised Pope Benedict it was time, and don’t worry about the never-in-600-years thing.

“Highly unique,” said Schneider, reaching for a linguistic frontier where grammarians fear to tread. Indeed, Harvin must be something special — Carroll said he’s been recruiting him since high school seven years ago. Carroll spent only a year on Reggie Bush.

But now Carroll is capable of paying Harvin a little more than USC paid Bush: six years and $67 million, with his $2.5 million salary in 2013 and $12 million bonus guaranteed, plus another $11 million guaranteed after the season, per

While we in Seattle can swagger about saying that makes him only half-a-Hernandez, it’s still pretty good for a guy who has yet to play a complete NFL season and has been labeled in various media accounts as a head case, time bomb, diva and a serial remover of the “do-not-remove” tags on pillows during his four-year incarceration with the Minnesota Vikings.

Those kinds of unkindnesses don’t seem to have followed to Seattle Marshawn Lynch, Bruce Irvin and other alleged malcontents acquired during the tenure of Carroll, who apparently lays hands upon arrival and the youngsters abruptly leap into a Norman Rockwell painting.

Character issues having a way of blending into the roar surrounding a winning team. And the Seahawks were 12-6 last year and 30 seconds away from the NFC title game. So news of the acquisition of Harvin — receiver, running back, kickoff returner and the primary figurative aneurysm for San Francisco coach and noted neurotic Jim Harbaugh — has added to the roar in the fashion of an Aleutian windstorm.

At a guaranteed $25.5 million to one player among 53 for one season of 2013, this deal can’t be more in the moment than the period at the end of this sentence.




Twice, three times if necessary, in 2013.

That is the deal for one of the most dramatic trades in Seahawks history, a first-rounder and a seventh-rounder from the April draft, and a third-rounder from the 2014 draft, plus the magnum cash. And this from a franchise that guards its draft picks like Lance Armstrong used to guard his medicine kit.

“Stop it,” said Schneider, smiling, when a reporter counted down the treasure surrendered at a press conference Tuesday at team headquarters. “I understand why you would look at the compensation. But this is a highly unique player. If you place Percy in this draft, there would be some pretty strong arguments of how high he would go, and it would be pretty darn high.

“We’re sitting at 25th (in the first round) and for us to be able to even move up five spots it would take probably a third-round draft pick. Really, this is kind of a slam dunk for us. You have to stay true to your draft board, but there’s also opportunities like this that come up. Frankly, this is something that we have studied from afar, and were prepared for. It popped Friday and that’s the way we went.”

Here’s how it popped in Minneapolis: Vikings all-galaxy running back Adrian Peterson tweeted that it was like “getting kicked in the stomach five times” to lose Harvin. Also gasping were Seahawks fans who had been lulled into thinking that a fairly complete 2012 team would be cautious in the free-agent-signing period that began Tuesday, then load up in the draft in late April. Few were thinking trade.

But Carroll was as righteously convinced about Harvin as he has been about any acquisition in his Seahawks tenure.

“There is not a football player that we could find that would compete more and battle
more than this guy right here,” he said, pointing to his tablemate.  “He’ll fit in right with us.”

Harvin has had sideline clashes with his previous coach, Brad Childress, and the current Vikings coach, Leslie Frazier. He had moments of insubordination with his college coach, Urban Meyer, at Florida. And he thought the Vikings’ current QB, Christian Ponder, wasn’t very good, and said so.  There were many in the Twin Cities who agreed, but they weren’t paid to be his teammate.

So yes, Harvin has accumulated a lot of baggage for one who won’t be 25 until May. On the other hand, he is now rich beyond even his published demands, has a coach who has liked him since his junior prom in Viriginia Beach, VA., and will be given almost as many touches of the ball as Kobe Bryant.

And he gets to play catch with Russell Wilson, probably the biggest reason the Seahawks felt good about going deep for Harvin.

“He was texting me from the moment that this thing was put together,” Harvin said. “He was already texting me things that we were going to do this off-season. We’re set to go to California and work out already.”

They met at the VMAC video room, where Wilson was studying.

“Season hasn’t even started yet, man,” said Harvin, smiling.

Actually, in RussWorld, the season never stopped. Harvin will get used to that. Being Seattle’s Most Interesting Man is a temporary honor, on loan from Wilson,  owner of label and town.

Stay thirsty, Seahawks friends.



  • Love it, Art. Always enjoy your work. And we finally even it up with the Vikings for Hutchinson. Gotta love that.

    • art thiel

      They thought they were even with Nate Burleson. Not so much.

      Ruskell said before he left that he’s afraid the name Hutchinson will be on his tombstone.

  • ssz1

    Gads, Art. Pete Carroll can lay on his hands and turn malcontents into a Norman Rockwell painting. Marshawn Lynch, Bruce Irvin and Percy Harvin in a Norman Rockwell painting? What imagery! Too much. I’m begging for more. Bring it on. Let’s hope Harvin can fit in with the other miss-fits and helps us get to the promised land. Now, about that defensive rush…

    • art thiel

      Well, if the imagery is too much, there’s always Bleacher Report.

      Harvin has a contract, coach and QB he likes. If he complains about anything but the weather, there will be a long line of people ready to slap him silly.

  • jafabian

    IMO, just a first round pick should have been enough to get Harvin. Maybe an additional pick but from next years draft. But the last three WR’s traded for first round picks in the NFL were Peerless Price, Roy Williams and (wait for it) Deion Branch. Just because Harvin had solid stats as a Viking doesn’t mean it will continue as a Seahawk. Just look at when Joey Galloway joined the Cowboys. Also disappointed they let go of Leon Washington after he had such a productive season but I imagine his age was a concern.

    Still want to see the club pick up a veteran pass rusher. The Seahawks are a very young team and could use someone to be for the club what Reggie White was for the Packers when he joined them.

    • art thiel

      If I read you right, all you’re complaining about in the trade aspect is giving up a seventh rounder. Really?

      There’s always the risk of flopping, but the fact that three guys didn’t work out is coincidence more than a pattern. Harvin has the money, the coach and the QB he likes.

    • Reggie White was the most dominate pass rusher in the history of the NFL and the first ever NFL free agent. As soon as you were finished writing that sentence you should have rollerbladed into a volcano.

  • 1coolguy

    Hope this works out – a TON of $$$ for 1 guy and imagine how all the other Seahawks can’t wait for their contracts to be over. This has repercussions the Hawks may rue for many years.

    The Niners picking up Boldin for a 6th rounder makes their GM look like a genious, even though Boldin is 32 vs Harvins’ 24.
    On the plus side, this addition will really open up the passing game which of course helps the running game. The Hawks will be a tough team to defend next year!

    • art thiel

      This is all about winning an SB in ’13. Big gamble, big reward. Boldin is a great pickup, and the Niners actually got younger at the spot (Moss was 36).

  • Deacon Blues

    Great writing, Art.

  • Art,

    The beauty of the English language is lost so often by so many, that when reading a piece such as this I must say thank you.

    I could hardly remember how amazing an article could be if written as though it were a great piece of forgotten literature.

    I mean that in it’s sincerest form.


    Thank you.

    • art thiel

      Eye, you made my day. It was fun, and as the days allows me a few more moments to think, I shall continue.