The immediate implication of Seattle’s acquisition of Percy Harvin are pretty clear. The Seahawks see him as a dynamic playmaker who can be plugged into an offense that will continue to evolve around rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
He is explosively fast, and someone the Vikings used at times almost like a running back with quick passes at or near the line of scrimmage to spread out opposing defenses who were focusing upon stopping Adrian Peterson.
Whether the acquisition is worth the price Seattle is paying is something that will take years to determine.
However, there are questions the trade brings up right now:
1) How will this impact Seattle’s special teams?
The Seahawks already have a Pro Bowl kick returner in Leon Washington, but returns have also been a dynamic element of Harvin’s game. He averaged 35.9 yards per kickoff return, which would have led the league had he returned enough kicks to qualify for the league leaders. As it was, Washington ranked second in kickoff returns and made the Pro Bowl.
2) What does this mean for Golden Tate?
Like Harvin, Tate has one year left on the contract he signed as a rookie. Like Harvin, Tate is explosive after the catch. Just because Seattle acquired Harvin and appears ready to pay him top-shelf money doesn’t preclude Seattle keeping Tate beyond 2013. It does raise the question, though, because of that whole salary-cap thing. That makes it hard for a team to have too much money tied up in a single position. Seattle has a bit of a luxury given the bargain-basement discount it will pay at quarterback with Russell Wilson on his rookie deal for at least the next seasons.
3) Will the addition of Harvin lead to subtraction elsewhere?
Seattle has the cap room to add Harvin without cutting anyone. Let’s make that clear. And the Seahawks haven’t let loose any whispers that someone is going to be cut, but just looking at the payroll, it’s apparent how much money Seattle has tied up in players whose job description involves catching the ball. Wide receiver Sidney Rice is scheduled to make $8.5 million in base salary in 2013. Tight end Zach Miller has a base salary of $6.8 million in 2013, and his contract — as currently structured — will count more than $11 million against the Seahawks’ salary cap in 2013. Again, there’s no reason to think Seattle has to make a move to add Harvin, but if his new deal averages $10 million annually as has been speculated, it’s worth asking if Seattle is really going to tie up one-quarter of its salary-cap space on pass catchers.