The two biggest moves in the NFL on Monday saw two NFC West teams improve the wide receiving core: but were upgrades, but one dramatically better than the other.
The San Francisco 49ers added Anqaun Boldin from the Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens. This might have been the first brother- to-brother, Super Bowl matchup trade. Their rivals in the west, the Seattle Seahawks, acquired Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings.
The 49ers gave up a sixth round draft pick, while the Seahawks gave up a bigger and better package of draft picks for Harvin. Pundits are condemning the Seahawks for giving away too much for an oft-injured, attitude filled speedster. Those same pundits are applauding the 49ers for getting a clutch performer with surefire hands who runs routes like he is still 25-years old.
In analyzing the trades, the following questions should be asked: who got the best playmaker? Who got the game-changer, and who upgraded the talent level on their team the most? All those questions can only be answered simply: the Seahawks.
With the addition of Harvin, the Seahawks now have a No. 1 wide receiver with speed to burn. They get one of the top punt return men in the league, and added a play maker to their offence and to their special teams.
Quarterback Russell Wilson was the only difference maker on their offense last season. His receiving core was, at best, a unit of average players. There was no game-breaker he could rely on every weekend to get you that one big play or touchdown. With Harvin, they now have one.
The 49ers get a sure-handed possession receiver in Boldin. He isn’t a game-changer or playmaker. They already have a No. 1 wide out in Michael Crabtree. Boldin will be the No. 2, if that. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick already has a game-changer in running back Frank Gore. Bringing in Boldin means he will have to share the football even more.
The standings in the NFC West show that the 49ers only won the division by a half game over the Seahawks. Yes, I understand that Harvin is oft-injured and that the Seahawks gave up a lot, but it’s all worth it. If Harvin plays only in one game and makes only one play to get the team that one extra victory, then it was worth it.
The Seahawks acquired an exciting playmaker, and therefore did better than the 49ers on Monday.
Boldin’s addition will not be felt but as much as Harvin’s, because the latter can change the game in so many ways. Boldin used his play in the Super Bowl to move from one championship team to what he hopes will be another.
Will Boldin’s play be better than the season that Randy Moss had with the 49ers? Harvin easily will have a better season than Golden Tate did with the Seahawks.
The NFC West was decided Monday afternoon with the Seahawks making the biggest splash and slightly taking over as division favorites. If the team is favored to win their division, then they are favored to get to the Super Bowl as well. Who would have thought Harvin would be the key to tilting the balance in the NFC?
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