The initial thought is: too little, too late. The Jets (1-6) aren't making the playoffs, even if Harvin tears it up in New York. Rex Ryan is a Harvin fan -- he recently referred to him as a "pretty special" player -- but the coach might not be around to reap the full benefit.
This trade is so out of character for general manager John Idzik. It smacks of desperation. The compensation isn't ridiculous -- it's a conditional 2015 pick that ranges from a second- to fourth-rounder, according to ESPN's John Clayton -- but the rest of it doesn't add up. Harvin has a huge salary (four-plus years left on his deal for $48.6 million) and comes with questions about his character. What happened to building through the draft? Clearly, John the Deliberate is taking a walk on the wild side, perhaps succumbing to the public pressure.
It'll be interesting to see if Harvin renegotiates his contract. If not, his remaining salaries are: $7.1 million for the remainder of this season (guaranteed), $10.5 million in 2015, $9.9 million in 2016, $9.95 million in 2017 and $11.15 million in 2018. The Jets can cut him after this season with no cap implications, which minimizes the risk. That's the best part of the deal for the Jets: There are very few strings attached.
The timing of the trade is reminiscent of the Braylon Edwards deal in 2009, which occurred about a month into the season. The risk involved in the trade brings back memories of the Santonio Holmes move in 2010. The Pittsburgh Steelers held the fire sale because they got tired of Holmes' act, and it appears the Seahawks did the same with Harvin.
Anybody who watched Thursday night's loss to the New England Patriots saw a glaring lack of speed on the Jets' offense. It's like they played on a 20-yard field. Eric Decker is a solid complementary receiver, but he doesn't force opponents to change their coverage plan. The Patriots put Darrelle Revis on Decker, and the other wide receivers totaled only three receptions. Jeremy Kerley has faded in recent weeks and the fastest guy on offense, running back Chris Johnson, doesn't play like the fastest guy. Harvin has electric speed and can be used in a variety of ways, running and catching.
For all his physical gifts, Harvin has only 22 catches for 133 yards and no touchdowns. He also has 92 rushing yards and one touchdown. (He did score three TDs in a victory over Washington -- but all three were nullified by penalties.) If he couldn't produce with Russell Wilson at quarterback, what makes the Jets so sure he'll do anything with Geno Smith? Harvin is a moody player with durability issues. If he's not happy, he'll be a problem in the locker room, a la Holmes. Interestingly, the Jets wanted no part of DeSean Jackson in the offseason, but now they're taking on a similar player.
The Jets know what they're getting; there won't be any surprises. Idzik worked in the Seattle organization and is good friends with GM John Schneider, and I don't think Schneider would try to pull a fast one.