The Seattle Seahawks had to make some very tough choices in order to get down to 53 players, and one of those decisions was to let their fourth-round pick walk away. Chris Harper was apparently waived, offered a spot on the Seattle practice squad and then lured away by the San Francisco 49ers.
Is this a conspiracy? Is Jim Harbaugh sitting in his office, rubbing his hands together and trying to figure out a way to mentally manipulate Pete Carroll?
If you look at the receiving corps of the 49ers, it is not exactly a dynamic group. Translation? The 49ers needed another wideout, which means that they were willing to go after the fourth-round pick from a deep team. In many ways this is similar to teams that trade for another pick during the draft.
If you are Harper, what do you do? Stick with the team that didn’t put you on the active roster or go to a franchise that is willing to give you a more serious gig? Not a hard decision.
Some fans may believe that the Niners are trying to outmaneuver the Seahawks, but this is the NFL. Teams cannot afford to waste precious spots on their 53-man roster. The Niners are not going to prevent the Seahawks from reaching the Super Bowl by taking one of their crucial practice squad players.
Maybe Chris Harper comes back to haunt the Seahawks in the future. There are players that find a special level of motivation when a team gives up on them. However, Seattle management can’t worry about revenge agendas from cut players. These are obviously difficult decisions, particularly when you have a team as deep and talented as Seattle.
It isn’t hard to argue that Harper has upside. The tricky part of “upside” is that teams don’t know how high that upside goes or when the player might get there. Two crucial drops in the final preseason game probably sealed Harper’s fate.
Maybe Harper was just nervous. Maybe he will eventually be a major contributor. Then again, perhaps the Seahawks knew what they were doing when they let Chris Harper go. We shall see.