Back in April The Sporting News decided to dig into the past and expose some not-so-flattering stories about Percy Harvin, Urban Meyer, and the Florida program in general. Their findings illuminated Harvin as an entitled young man with a short temper.
At the time, the piece had the feel of a hit job of sorts, and many questioned the odd timing of this information coming out.
With a recent report from 1500 ESPN describing yet another confrontation between the uber-talented receiver and his current coach, Harvin’s status as a Viking is yet again being called into question.
Reports of the past have included throwing a college coach on the ground and putting hands around his neck, testing positive for marijuana prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, throwing a weight at former head coach Brad Childress, and requesting a trade prior to this season before performing a sudden about-face. That list would be enough to call any player unreliable, and we haven’t even started talking about his long list of injury and health issues.
Some Vikings fans are going to want to bury memories of Randy Moss departing Minnesota (twice) in their subconscious and assume the Vikings will “pay the man” and that Harvin will get a deal that makes him a Viking for life.
The phrase “where there is smoke there is fire” comes to mind, however. And the player that has earned the nickname “Cheech” in this corner of the internet seems to always be surrounded by plenty of smoke.
Still, lots of options exist for how this could play out and I want to take a second to look at each one (and there could be more) in great detail.
Pay The Man
The Vikings may never be certain that they have made Harvin permanently happy in Minnesota, but they can always try and then hope for the best, and the best way to do that is by getting out the checkbook.
Entering the final year of his rookie deal Harvin is set to make a paltry $1.55 million in 2013. Considering the impact he can have on a football game, and his particular need for long term financial security as an injury prone player, it isn’t surprising that Harvin would be willing to go to battle against the Vikings front office in an effort to get guaranteed money.
The question facing the Vikings will be just how much money they are willing to pay their 24 year old game changer. Agent Joel Segal has been known to milk team’s for all they are worth in regards to his top clients. Evidence in this can be found in the contracts for Michael Vick (6 years, $100 million), Chris Johnson (6 year, $55 million), and DeAngelo Hall (6 year, $55 million).
More specifically, Segal raided plenty of coffers with receivers of lesser talent than Harvin which include Josh Morgan (2 years, $11.5 million), Marques Colston (5 years, $36.3 million), and Pierre Garcon (5 years, $42.5 million). Each of these contracts came with considerable, to say the least, guarantees.
He’s been at it for a long time, too, and in 1999 he made Antonio Freeman the highest paid receiver in NFL history with a seven year deal worth $42 million.
I suspect Harvin, on a five year deal, would demand somewhere in the neighborhood of $55 million with about $25 million guaranteed. That is a hefty price indeed, but one the Vikings might have to pay if they don’t want to reduce their receiver group down to absolutely nothing, a possibility that both Harvin and his agent are well aware of.
The thing to keep in mind about taking on that big of a cap hit for Harvin is that there really is no team in the NFL that can, or does, pay two big money receivers. With the Vikings obviously needing help at the position, a blockbuster contract for Harvin would be quite the commitment to him and an acceptance that any other real help is going to have to come in the NFL Draft or in the form of low-cost free agent fliers.