The Seahawks may have not made the most moves in the first 48 hours of free agency, but they’ve made arguably the best additions to their roster of any team in the last 72. Sure, one of those pickups was via trade, but now we’re getting into technicalities.
By trading for Percy Harvin and signing Cliff Avril the Seahawks have addressed two of their more glaring needs and become the team to beat in the process. Following the trade for Harvin the Seahawks gave him the raise he so desperately wanted signing him to a 6 year $67M contract. The contract has $14.5M fully guaranteed and another $11M that is virtually guaranteed, and the average annual value is $12.845M. It’s a hefty raise from Harvin’s rookie contract that would have paid $2.775M for this season. Avril on the other hand signed as a free agent, within minutes of every NFL analyst in the twitterverse saying he was meeting with Seattle brass. And I mean minutes. That escalated quickly. His deal is of the 2 year $15M variety.
The signing of Percy Harvin adds several dimensions to an already bordering on impossible to defend Seattle offense. No matter what the situation, defenses will have to account for Harvin’s whereabouts. He can line up in the slot, on the outside and even played a little running back for the Vikings. And he played well in all those positions to boot.
Harvin’s contributions will also be felt on special teams, where he has been one of the most consistent kick and punt returners in the league. Harvin was good enough to spurn the release of Pro Bowl return specialist Leon Washington only hours after his joining the Seahawks.
As great as adding Percy Harvin was, the addition of Cliff Avril is even better. Just taking necessity into account. They could win a Super Bowl with last year’s offense, they couldn’t with last year’s pass rush.
In Cliff Avril they have added one of the fastest, most athletic and productive pass rushers in the league. Avril won’t be able to replace the injured Chris Clemons’ ability to set the edge and help in run defense, but he is a slight upgrade at getting to the passer and is much younger. Over the last three seasons Avril has averaged almost 10 sacks a season and has 9 forced fumbles over that period of time. Defensive ends with Avril’s ability, and age at 26 just don’t hit the market very often. If the Seahawks win it all, and I do hope I’m not jinxing it right now, count this move as the one that puts them over the top.
In less than 3 days the Seahawks have gone from contenders to favorites. The addition of Harvin on offense will make an already hard to defend and intricate pass attack all the more potent. With all the attention that Harvin is sure to draw, this will open up space for the other receivers. His addition will elevate everybody’s game on offense. In signing Cliff Avril the Seahawks have found a way to replace Clemons in the short term and create possibly the league’s most formidable pass rush when he returns. This move also means that Bruce Irvin can continue to be put in a situation to succeed, exclusively on passing downs.
They may have only added two players, but it’s quality over quantity in Seattle. I don’t think they’re done yet either. They have somewhere in the neighbourhood of $6M in cap space as of right now, but I expect them to create more in the coming days and weeks. The release of Ben Obomanu and his nearly $3M cap hit immediately comes to mind and they can create another $3.25M by trading Matt Flynn. For now though, this team is the team to beat. I can’t imagine Seattle’s ever been as excited about an upcoming season, and with good reason.
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