The big news of Friday afternoon was the New York Jets acquisition of disgruntled wide receiver Percy Harvin from the Seattle Seahawks. Fox Sport's Jay Glazer broke the news, while NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has reported the trade is for a 6th round pick, with the chance for it to become a 4th round pick. The Seahawks acquired Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings for 1st and 7th round picks in 2013 and an additional 3rd round pick in 2014.
Additionally, Harvin's contact has no more guaranteed money beyond this season, which means that the Jets will only be on the hook paying for when Harvin plays. All signs point to the Jets receiving a quality player for pennies on the dollar.
However, reports are leaking that Harvin refused to enter the Seahawks losing efforts against the Cowboys, forcing the team to trade him. The same report shows Harvin fighting fellow receiver, and current Lion, Golden Tate and giving him a black eye prior to the 2013 Super Bowl. He also fought another receiver, Doug Baldwin, in camp this preseason. He has a history of causing issues in the locker room.
The Seahawks rank 31st in the league in passing, which means that it's not like they're flush with offensive weapons; it means they wanted to rid themselves of a trouble in the locker room.
Coincidentally, the Jets rank 32nd and are the only team lower ranked than Seattle.
From a purely athletic standpoint, it seems like Harvin is a perfect fit for the Jets, who subsequently released the 6'5, 215 pound slot receiver, and former Buffalo Bills receiver, David Nelson. Harvin plays like a souped up Tavon Austin, a threat that Jets quarterback Geno Smith played with at West Virginia. The 5'11, 185 pound Harvin is used as a running back and slot receiver and is a tremendous threat after the catch. He's also an outstanding kick returner.
From a locker room vantage, he's definitely struggled with fitting in. There are reports of his fighting teammates through the years. That said, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was quick to friend Harvin and is sad to see him depart.
It's interesting the Jets thought it necessary to acquire a player with so many concerns, albeit one with Harvin's talent, after having sent away receiver Santonio Holmes this past offseason for being a concern in the locker room. Additionally, the Jets are 1-6 and are a major reach to make the playoffs this season.
Still, the Jets gave up very little for a player with tremendous talent on a contract with no guaranteed money, but one extending through 2017.
The money echos the Bills trading up to select Sammy Watkins in this past draft. The Bills mortgaged their future first round pick to move up and select Watkins fourth overall. The Bills were concerned that another losing season might jeopardize the front office and general manager Doug Whaley stated a belief that, "this guy [Watkins] was going to get us to the playoffs."
It's a similar sentiment in New York, where there is concern about the future with coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik. The move, while likely lauded if performed by a team with a winning record, reeks of panic by a team at the bottom of the league- especially since Harvin was traded away by a team with a dearth of receiving talent.
Still, the move sets the Jets up well for the future with Harvin teaming up with free agent acquisition receiver Eric Decker and rookie tight end Jace Amaro, along with running back Chris Ivory to provide a stable of highly dangerous weapons on offense. Should the Jets receive another top pick in the 2015 draft, it's likely that Jets can solidify their offensive line and other holes on the roster; it's possible that they'll be competitive next season.
For the Patriots, it should be a sigh of relief the transaction occurred after Thursday's game (the game which is a likely catalyst for the trade). The Jets were close to winning and any blue chip player might have tipped the scale.
From a long term perspective, it adds a mobile receiver of the mold that gives the Patriots plenty of challenges in man coverage. The division has continued to add players with home run speed, from Mike Wallace to Sammy Watkins and now Harvin. These players are perfect counters to Darrelle Revis who lacks the top end speed to keep up in coverage.
To put it frankly, the divisional rivals are competent quarterbacks away from being competitive. They all field ferocious defensive lines that, when used well, are capable of flustering Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The divisional teams continue to stock up on top talents- it's a matter of if they mesh with the rest of the roster.
The Harvin signing shouldn't concern Patriots fans; in fact, it helps New England immensely with the Jets facing the Bills twice and the Dolphins once in their next five games. If the Jets can take down some of the divisional competition, it helps the Patriots maintain divisional ranking as they head into a tough stretch of the season.