Percy Harvin never was worth what the Seattle Seahawks invested in him. But realizing their mistake and getting rid of him before it was too late are the reasons the Seahawks made it back to the Super Bowl.
If the New York Jets release Harvin as expected, the final door will close on one of the worst trades in Seahawks franchise history. Here are the facts:
Harvin cost the Seahawks $18.3 million over two seasons. He also cost them a first- and seventh-round draft choices in 2013 and a third-round pick in 2014 in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.
And what did the Seahawks get for that investment?
They got a man who played in only six regular-season games -- one in 2013 and five in 2014 -- before being traded to the Jets, and two playoff games. He caught 23 passes for 140 yards in the regular-season games.
He rushed for 92 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. He also had a 58-yard kickoff return against his former Minnesota Vikings teammates in his only 2013 regular-season game.
And he had one dramatic moment in the 2014 Super Bowl with an 87-yard TD on the opening kickoff of the second half.
The Seahawks will receive a sixth-round draft choice from the Jets if Harvin is released, which seems likely now that the Jets made a trade Friday to acquire wide receiver Brandon Marshall from the Chicago Bears.
That's about it -- more than $18 million and a minus-2 on drafts choices for a guy who played in a total of eight games and had minimal impact on the field.
And it could have been much worse had the Seahawks not made the gutsy move of trading Harvin last October. He was a much bigger problem off the field than he was an asset on it. The Vikings knew it when they let him go and the Seahawks found out the hard way.
"We took a shot [acquiring Harvin] for a highly explosive player," said Seahawks general manager John Schneider. "For a number of different reasons it didn't work out. We knew we had to resolve that situation as quickly as we could so we could move forward as an organization. It was a very hard decision, one we didn't make overnight."
The Seahawks revamped their offense to take advantage of Harvin's talents, but he still was discontent at times about not getting the ball enough. The last straw came in the game against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 12 last season, five days before he was traded, when Harvin reportedly refused to go back in the game.
He was singlehandedly destroying the chemistry of a team trying to return to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks' brass knew it couldn't continue, even if it meant getting almost nothing in return.
Besides the off-the-field issues, Seattle's offense had gotten away from what it does best -- a power-running team centered around Marshawn Lynch that used the read-option with the best running quarterback in the league in Russell Wilson.
The offense had become more about Harvin and trying to utilize his speed and elusiveness near the line of scrimmage with jet sweeps and bubble screens. For the most part, it just didn't work. Defenses knew what was coming and the Seahawks lost their identity on offense.
It was time to go back to who they were and admit the Harvin experiment was a failure on every level. The trade was a stunner, the holy-cow moment of the season in the NFL.
It briefly threw the team for a loop. The Seahawks flew to St. Louis the day of the trade and lost to the Rams 48 hours later.
In the days following the trade, unsubstantiated reports surfaced about dissension on the team all around, including ridiculous rumors about some players saying Wilson "wasn't black enough."
All the talk of discord became a rallying point for the players. After the loss at Kansas City dropped the Seahawks to 6-4, the players called a meeting. Strong safety Kam Chancellor was the leader of the meeting.
"I felt it was time," Chancellor said later. "I had to get up and talk and say what was in my heart, talk about how we need to play out there and how we need to play for one another. The guys understood that and we ran with it."
"It was about trusting each other again," Baldwin said a few weeks later. "Believing in the man next to you and not playing like individuals."
The Seahawks ran the table after that meeting, going 6-0 down the stretch, including five games against teams with winning records and five against NFC West opponents.
And the Seahawks were one play away from a probable second consecutive Super Bowl victory, the interception at the goal line that Seattle fans will never forget.
What they should remember, however, is how this team transformed its season after it boldly sent Harvin packing.
No, he wasn't worth the price, but the Seahawks wisely cut their losses and saved their season by saying goodbye.