Wow. That was literally my first reaction when I saw that the Vikings traded Percy Harvin for a 1st round pick. My first thought was that, the Seahawks should be the NFC representative next season for the Super Bowl.
Let us first look at Harvin, the player. He is amazingly talented. A bull as a sporadic ball carrier, he is incredibly hard to tackle and has great elusiveness as well. As a receiver he is a demon in the slot as he does not shy away from contact and he has the top-level speed to be an outside player as well.
If you fit him inside this Seahawks offense, it is downright scary. Sidney Rice had a solid comeback season (Stats do not tell the whole story. Seattle babied their offense through the first 8 games), especially in the second half of the season where offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell opened up the offense and let Russell Wilson run loose literaly and figuratively. Golden Tate started to show flashes of being a good complimentary receiver as well, after having a disappointing rookie season. Having said all of that, only one game last season did a Seahawks wide receiver eclipse the 100-yard plateau and that was week 17 where Golden Tate had a big game against the Rams. Percy Harvin brings big play ability, as a running back lined up next to Marshawn Lynch, as a wide receiver and he will be paired alongside Leon Washington to form one of the better kick return duos in the league. With the way Wilson runs the read option, the possibilities are endless with regards to Harvin (I can already see the read-option jet sweep with Harvin from the slot) . I am not worried about how the Seahawks will handle Harvin the player. He is so versatile and is a guy you can build a game plan around. I am worried about how they will handle Harvin the person. He has been volatile everywhere he has been, from High School, to the University of Florida and of course with the Vikings regarding the mistreatment of his injuries and contract disputes. All that aside, this is a terrific coup by the Seahawks and definitely worth the price of a 1st rounder.
Just as I was letting the Harvin acquisition to the Seahawks simmer and penciling them in as NFC favorites, the 49ers make a big move by acquiring Anquan Boldin. When I first heard about the Ravens entertaining the thought of Boldin being released, I was absolutely shocked. There is no way the Ravens win the Super Bowl without Boldin. As good as Flacco was, he was not always accurate. Anquan can still catch everything his way and that was the case when he caught key 3rd downs against Denver and the Patriots. I get that they think Torrey Smith is the future and Jacoby Jones is suddenly a number 2 receiver (He is not and never will be), but Boldin provides too much toughness and leadership to lose. He still has elite level hands and caught literally everything thrown his way. The only caveat at this point in his career, is his running ability being subpar for a wide receiver. Nevertheless, the 49ers are getting a great player here. Although it did not really show in the playoffs, as Colin Kaepernick was sensational, the 49ers still lack big play capability at the receiver position going into next season. Randy Moss was a bust; Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn are simply return specialists. A.J. Jenkins was a 1st round pick last year out of Illinois. A speedster who blew up the track at the combine, he did not play at all due to a torn ACL. With Ginn being a free agent, Moss having been handed his walking papers and the 49ers seeming to not being big players in the high-profile unrestricted free agent wide receiver, this was a great move to make: proceeding with Boldin to go for another run and allow a guy like Jenkins to develop slowly. I did not even mention Michael Crabtree who stepped his level of play when Kaepernick was inserted into the starting lineup, or Vernon Davis who has the ability to be a top tight end.
Of course, we like to think that the NFL is like Madden and you can simply insert any receiver into an offense and it will click beautifully. Alas, this is not the case, but Boldin is a veteran guy who has been through the trenches. If Kaepernick plays lights out like he did last season, this will be a great move. Let’s not forget that Boldin is also a tenacious blocker and can absolutely blow up guys on crack backs and downfield blocks for Frank Gore and LaMichael James. This move just made too much sense for the 49ers even if Boldin busts. They still have 10 draft picks and can use those to continue to shore up their receiving core if they want to add more speed.
Two monumental moves by two teams in the same division that play tough and hard nosed. It is not a coincidence that the players that they acquired are two tough, hard-nosed players who should both fit in perfectly with their new teams. It will be great to see how Seattle and San Francisco build their teams heading into OTA’s and training camp.
Monday provided a great start to what should be wild free agent frenzy and shows that the NFL continues to dominate headlines despite the season being 6-7 months away.