Percy Harvin is the team’s fourth big-money bust at the position in the past decade, joining underperformers Deion Branch, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Sidney Rice. It was easy to see coming.
The Hawks paid $84 million to those four players — receiving just 116 games and 31 touchdowns in return. Talk about dropping the ball.
It all started in September 2006, when Tim Ruskell — intent on showing Mike Holmgren who was boss — acquired Branch from New England for a 2007 first-round pick and signed the former Super Bowl MVP to a six-year, $39 million deal.
In his four-plus years in Seattle, Branch was paid about $29 million for 190 catches, 2,347 yards and 15 touchdowns. That’s over $12,000 per yard or $152,000 per reception or $1.9 million per touchdown.
Partly because Branch could not stay healthy, Ruskell made a panic move in 2009 by signing Houshmandzadeh for five years and $40 million.
When John Schneider and Pete Carroll took over in 2010, they decided to cut the undisciplined receiver just before the season, despite owing him $7 million guaranteed. He was paid more than $14 million for two years despite playing just one and tallying 79 receptions, 911 yards and three touchdowns.
Schneider also sent Branch back to New England during the 2010 season for a 2011 fourth-round pick.
Schneider apparently didn’t learn a thing from Ruskell’s mistakes, though. After exploring options for acquiring Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson in 2010 and 2011 — fortunately losing out on both — he signed the oft-injured Rice to a five-year, $41 million deal in 2011.
Rice immediately showed Schneider the error of his ways, playing in just nine games in 2011 due to injuries. He managed to play in every game in 2012 but caught just 50 passes for 748 yards and seven touchdowns — hardly worth his $7 million salary. Then he lasted just eight games last season, catching 15 passes for 231 yards and three scores while being paid $8.5 million.
Rice was let go after the season, then re-signed for less money and then retired when he realized his body could not take an NFL beating.
Rice was paid $23.5 million for 97 receptions, 1,463 yards and 12 TDs in 33 games — that’s $16,000 per yard or $242,000 per catch or $1.96 million per touchdown.
Now, Harvin makes it four flameouts at wideout. He played in just eight of 24 possible games (including playoffs) and scored twice — on a run and that Super Bowl kick return.
The so-called wide receiver caught just 32 passes for 150 yards in six regular-season games. During that time, he was paid $18.4 million. That trumps any of the Hawks’ three other receiver busts.
The Seahawks are now going young and cheap at wide receiver, with Doug Baldwin the only one making seven figures.
If they are smart, they will keep it that way.