Their coach and general manager described the move as a rare opportunity to add one of the very best players in the NFL. They said the move fit well within their long-range planning, contrary to perceptions.
The risk-reward aspect of the Harvin move came to mind Thursday upon reading Chuck Klosterman's report from inside (and ultimately outside) the Cleveland Browns' draft room. According to Klosterman, who was writing for Grantland, first-year Browns president Alec Scheiner was speaking about NFL teams in general when he delivered this comment:
"We have a long-term vision. And I realize that sounds simplistic, but a lot of teams don't have that. They take shortcuts. Our long-term vision is sustained success over a long period of time. When you look at organizations like San Francisco and Philadelphia and New England and Baltimore and Pittsburgh, what you see are organizations that stayed consistent with their ideals. If you look at other teams, you can see where they took shortcuts. You can see where they gave up three assets for one guy, because they thought they were one player away. But you're never just one player away."
Seattle sent three draft choices to the Minnesota Vikings for Harvin in the biggest trade of the 2013 offseason.
There have been other blockbuster trades on occasion.
The Atlanta Falcons traded five picks to the Browns in 2011 for a chance to draft Julio Jones sixth overall. That was before Scheiner was with Cleveland, and the deal seems to have benefited the Falcons, who had a quarterback capable of maximizing Jones' addition.
In 2009, the New York Jets sent three players and two high draft choices to the Browns for a chance to draft Mark Sanchez fifth overall. Last year, the Washington Redskins traded the sixth and 39th picks with two future first-rounders to the St. Louis Rams for a chance to draft Robert Griffin III second overall.
Did the Harvin trade represent a shortcut move with longer-term negative consequences?
We've gone over this ground previously. The Seahawks have the quarterback in place to maximize their investment in Harvin. The move would not make as much sense otherwise. The team was subsequently able to extend Kam Chancellor's contract, alleviating fears that Harvin's payday would complicate negotiations with other core players.
There is still risk, of course.