RENTON, Wash. -- All of Seattle is asking the same question: Why?
In what has to be one of the most shocking in-season trades in Seattle Seahawks history, star wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded to the New York Jets for future draft considerations, sources confirmed Friday afternoon.
The reasons are two-fold. The obvious one is to make salary-cap space for the future big-money deal coming for quarterback Russell Wilson at the end of this season, a deal that likely will be way north of $100 million for four to five years.
Even so, why do it now? Why trade your most explosive offensive weapon, the man a large part of the offense is built around, five games into a season in which you hope to return to the Super Bowl?
The answer is the Seahawks were tired of Harvin's act, several sources have confirmed. The bottom line: He was more trouble than he's worth.
Harvin played in only one regular-season game last year after undergoing hip surgery. He has played in every game this year but continues to have nagging injury issues that cause him to miss or skip practice.
One team source also said Harvin had confrontations with teammates and dealt with anger issues.
It's not like the Seahawks didn't know Harvin had issues. One confrontation he had while playing for the Minnesota Vikings happened in a game in Seattle on Nov. 4, 2012. Harvin had a heated argument on the sidelines with Vikings coach Leslie Frazier that was shown on television.
That was the last game Harvin played for the Vikings, as he was placed on injured reserve afterward with an ankle problem. Four months later he was traded to Seattle for first- and seventh-round draft picks in 2013 and a third-round pick in 2014. So the Seahawks paid him $18.3 million the last two seasons and gave up three draft picks -- for a guy who played eight games for them.
Seahawks radio broadcaster and former quarterback Warren Moon talked about Harvin on 1090-AM radio in Seattle on Friday.
“Chemistry on any team is very important,” Moon said. “I think in some ways Percy upset that chemistry.”
So despite his enormous talent, the Seahawks believe they are better served to move on without him and move up young players they want to give a shot.
They drafted two receivers in their first four draft picks this year -- second-round pick Paul Richardson, a speedster from Colorado, and fourth-round-pick Kevin Norwood, a tough, fundamentally sound pass-catcher from Alabama.
Seattle also has receiver Ricardo Lockette, a legitimate 4.3 sprinter whom the Seahawks want to give more playing time.
Harvin practiced Friday and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked about his status, healthwise, for Sunday's game.
“Percy practiced [with a listed thigh injury] and got through it,” Carroll said, but he made no other comment about Harvin.
But Carroll left the Seahawks' indoor practice facility immediately after practice for about 10 to 15 minutes, a highly unusual move after a Friday practice on a getaway day with buses waiting outside.
Carroll returned and spoke to reporters, saying nothing about the deal. News first broke of the trade about an hour later after the Seahawks had left for the airport.
No one with the Seahawks returned calls about the trade, but players already were tweeting about it, including this tweet from Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril:
This business is crazy... Hate to see my boy @Percy_Harvin go— Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) October 17, 2014
Reports suggested that Harvin was unhappy in Seattle and wanted to be traded.
Really? He would want to leave a Super Bowl contender that had centered its entire offense around him?
Trading Harvin now saves the Seahawks $7.1 million off his $11 million 2014 salary. He was scheduled to make $10.5 million in base salary next year. And the Seahawks reportedly will receive a conditional fourth-round draft pick from the Jets in 2015 that could become a second-round pick, based on Harvin's performance.
The extra pick is nice and the money can be used to help pay Wilson next year, but this wasn't just about money. It was about moving on from a player who had become more trouble than he was worth.