Senior NFL Columnist

Free-agent Musings: Percy Harvin not the player you think

When news broke that the Minnesota Vikings were trading Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, one of the first things I heard was how he gives Seattle a stretch-the-field weapon.

Really?

That's not who Harvin is as a player -- despite having blazing speed. He is a slot receiver, a good one when he's on the field, but he is not a stretch-the-field player. Look at his career numbers.

In his four seasons, Harvin has eight catches of 40 yards or more and 49 of 20 yards or more. In those same four seasons, New England's Wes Welker has 53 20-plus catches and 10 40-plus catches. Victor Cruz of the Giants has 39 20-plus catches and 16 40-plus catches in two seasons.

The Harvin backers will point to the poor quarterback play in Minnesota as a reason. But when he played with Brett Favre, the year the Vikings went to the NFC Championship Game, he had 13 20-plus catches and three 40-plus catches.

When you put on the tape of Harvin, you see a gifted athlete who is good at running crossing routes, can catch the quick screens, can take handoffs out of the backfield and is tough in the open field.

What you don't see is a vertical threat. There are also times he seems to loaf running his routes like a certain former Vikings receiver named Randy Moss.

Forget dealing with him from an off-the-field standpoint. That's an issue for Pete Carroll to handle now.

As far as on the field, I think the Seahawks would have been better off waiting to draft West Virginia's Tavon Austin in the first round or maybe another of the many slot receivers in this draft in the second round.

Harvin just isn't the deep threat many think he can be.

One more thing about Harvin: If you can anger Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, you have to be a jerk.

-- Trade-and-pay deals like this are risky. The Seahawks not only give up picks but will be giving Harvin a long-term contract that is sure to be huge. Here's the thing about draft picks: They are cheap labor. That matters.

-- The Vikings love the potential of Jarius Wright as a deep threat, but now they need to get a veteran receiver and maybe draft one early in April. Wright had two 40-yard catches in limited time last season for the Vikings.

-- The early talk coming from agents is that there are not a lot of big-money offers being bandied about. Why? Teams know they can wait and pick off this deep free-agent class on the cheap. With so many teams having cap issues, don't look for a lot of big-money deals. Low-ball is the phrase of choice for this free-agency period.

-- Why would a team trade for Jets corner Darrelle Revis without seeing him play a down again? That's just stupidity. Who knows if he can be the same guy? It's just an assumption to say he will be. Coming back from an ACL is risky, even if Adrian Peterson made it look easy last year.

-- Now that the Redskins have released corner DeAngelo Hall, here's a question: Who plays there for them in 2013? Hall had a big cap hit at $7.5 million, but the Redskins have nothing left on the outside to match up. It seems like it's all about the offense for the Redskins. That shouldn't be surprising. Mike Shanahan is the head coach and son Kyle Shanahan is the offensive coordinator. May as well make it look good for junior. I feel for the defensive coaches.

 
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