Should Cincinnati Bengals Have Traded for Percy Harvin?


Oct 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin (11) dives for extra yards while being tackled by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In a rare in-season trade of an established star, the Seattle Seahawks today sent wide receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets for a conditional draft pick, as reported on this evening.  It’s too early to know yet what other teams may have been involved in talks with Seattle, but given the Cincinnati Bengals’ recent health issues at WR it’s not out of the question to think that Cincy could have been in play, too.  At the very least, this trade begs the question, “Should the Bengals have traded for Harvin?”

ESPN Bengals blogger Coley Harvey tells us today that the timetable for A.J. Green’s return is still “up in the air,”  and we found out Wednesday that Marvin Jones is officially done for the season.   With quarterback Andy Dalton’s two favorite targets nowhere to be seen, then, it certainly seems like they need some help, but that may not necessarily be the case.  

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Even without their presumed top receivers, the Bengals still rank eighth in the league with nearly 270 passing yards per game.  Much of the slack has been taken up by WR Mohamed Sanu, who has 354 yards and three TDs on 27 catches through five games.   Running back Giovani Bernard has chipped in 178 yards on 18 catches, and Dalton has generally distributed the ball all over the place.

Even when Green was on the field in the early games, he was still battling that “great” toe injury, and there wasn’t clear separation between him and Sanu.

The passing game hasn’t really been the heart of the Bengals’ problems as they’ve tumbled from unbeatable three weeks ago to slightly panicked today. Their biggest issues lie with the run defense, special teams and red-zone offense (where, of course, receiving plays a part but is not the whole picture).

Then, too, you have to start to wonder about just what is wrong with Percy Harvin.   He was the toast of Seattle when he was traded from the Minnesota Vikings early in 2013 and negotiated a juicy new contract.  After a hip injury and subsequent surgery, he played just one game for the Seahawks in 2013 and is now bouncing out of town after five uninspired games in 2014.

Given that he’s on his third team in three seasons and that the Jets are, well, a little desperate for help and pizzazz, something’s not right.  Either he has lingering injury issues, or there is a personality conflict with the Seahawks organization or players.

Either way, it’s probably best that the Bengals didn’t make the strongest (or any) move to acquire Harvin.  Even with “just” a non-first-round pick at stake, the stakes were probably too high.