The Seattle Seahawks notified Leon Washington that he would be released earlier today after the Percy Harvin trade with the Minnesota Vikings became official. It was a business decision where the opportunity of adding a proven malcontent with respect to his last three head coaches for three draft picks and $67 million over five-years was more important than retaining the services of a Pro Bowl return specialist who was on the wrong side of 30-years old.
Seattle supposedly got younger in this trade, although I fail to understand how a 24-year-old Harvin would have been younger than whoever they would have drafted with their first-round pick that they traded to Minnesota. Seattle also got more dynamic on offense, which I do not doubt.
However, Seattle lost wiggle-room with respect to the salary cap in future years, as the 25th pick in the NFL draft last year, Dont’a Hightower, signed a 4-year contract worth $7.7 million. Sure, there is no guarantee the Seahawks would have found anyone as good as Harvin with that pick, but they would have also saved millions of dollars for other good players, too.
If trading high draft picks for proven players and giving them large contracts were the norm, more teams would consistently do it, but Seattle had been proving, up to this point, that building through the draft was the best way to set yourself up for long-term success. This, seemingly, had been a team policy until they deemed themselves as a player away from the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately for Seattle, Harvin cannot rush the passer and it is doubtful he will be able to generate over 10 sacks per season. The addition of Harvin is nice, but they are still one impact pass rusher away from realistically thinking they can win the Super Bowl, unless the team feels that adding Harvin will mean opposing teams will never be within a touchdown late in any play-off game. There is still plenty of time to fix this problem (think John Abraham) but this remains the most important area for Seattle to address.
While Washington is now looking for employment, Seattle has determined that they are in position to go for the gusto by adding Harvin to put them over the top. Time will tell.