Free agency hasn't even started yet, and already the action is hot and heavy in the NFC West, where both teams that made the playoffs a year ago made big moves on Monday.
The Seattle Seahawks started off the action in blockbuster fashion, sending a package of picks that included their 2013 first-rounder to the Minnesota Vikings for wide receiver Percy Harvin, according to Robert Klemko and Mike Garafalo of USA Today.
The San Francisco 49ers weren't about to let that shot across their proverbial bow go unanswered. The 49ers made a move of their own, acquiring wide receiver Anquan Boldin from the Baltimore Ravens for a sixth-round pick, according to Katie Dowd of The San Francisco Chronicle.
Both teams improved their passing attacks substantially, but which newcomer to the division will have more success in the Pacific Time Zone?
That depends a lot on how you define success and over what period you're looking at.
In Anquan Boldin, the San Francisco 49ers acquired an excellent possession receiver at next to no cost. Granted, Boldin may no longer be the player that topped 1,000 receiving yards in five of his seven seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
However, Boldin showed how much he still brings to the table during the Ravens' 2013 Super Bowl run, reeling in 22 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
That performance didn't go unnoticed by teammate Ray Rice, according to Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports.
"played lights-out, but if there was a runner-up MVP, you'd have to give it to Anquan Boldin," Rice told me. "He was just that guy -- he was the man. I mean, you couldn't take that away from him. Obviously, the quarterback got him the ball and put it in the right places, but sometimes, you just put the ball out there, and he just went and got it. He was my choice for... if there was a runner up for MVP, he was my guy."
Boldin's veteran savvy and tough-as-nails attitude will fit right in in San Francisco, and given how little the 49ers paid for him, the acquisition is essentially a no-risk investment that should pay big dividends in the short-term.
Seattle's investment in Percy Harvin is much more substantial, but the potential reward is also much greater.
Yes, Harvin has yet to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and after talking his way out of Minnesota, it's apparent that Harvin is yet another "high maintenance" wideout.
What is it with wide receivers, anyway? Is there some handbook they have that says "Rule 6: Be a titanic pain in the butt whenever possible?"
Add the fat contract that the Seahawks will surely sign Harvin to, along with the draft picks required to get him, and Pete Carroll and the front office are taking a pretty big chance.
The reason for taking that chance is that when he's healthy and his head is screwed on straight, there may be no more dangerous player in the entire National Football League with a football in his hands than Percy Harvin.
Before his 2012 season was ended by an ankle injury, the four-year veteran was being mentioned as a potential MVP candidate, and former teammate Adrian Peterson was none too pleased to hear that Harvin was headed west.
Adrian Peterson @AdrianPeterson
The best all around player I ever seen or you'll ever see! Goes to Seattle! I feel like I just got kicked in the stomach. Several times!!!3/11/2013, 8:25:49 PM
Not only does Harvin instantly upgrade Seattle's receiving corps, but the Seahawks' return game is now absolutely terrifying, with Harvin joining Leon Washington to form a potentially devastating one-two punch.
At the end of the day, which player you think will have the most success in his new home is a matter of perspective.
In Boldin, the 49ers got a consummate pro and durable player who, though not as explosive as he once was, still has plenty left in the tank.
For the price of a sixth-round pick it's about as can't miss as pickups get, and even if Boldin plays only one year in the Bay Area, he boosts the 49ers' chances of making it back to the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, took a much bigger risk. However, they're trying to get where the 49ers are, and if Harvin can stay healthy, he and quarterback Russell Wilson could form one of the most formidable pitch-and-catch duos in the NFL for years to come.
That potential payoff is worth a late first-round pick (plus), and while the San Francisco 49ers did very nicely for themselves with the Anquan Boldin trade, the long-term possibilities with Percy Harvin make the Seattle Seahawks the winner of this skirmish in the NFC West arms race.
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