Let's Make A Deal!

Is it time to give Percy Harvin a new deal?

I have been looking at the current Vikings players and their contract status. I am not going into detail about the current cap number or any of that business as it is very difficult to come up with an accurate number. Right now the free agents for 2013 will be Phil Loadholt, Asher Allen, Jasper Brinkley, Jamarca Sanford, and many of the free agents we signed to one year deals this year like Jerome Simpson, Geoff Schwartz, Jerome Felton, Zachary Bowman, Chris Carr, and a few others.

The most important player is Percy Harvin. I think it is time to get a contract extension done. I think it should be done before the start of the season too. He is signed through 2013 but is only going to make 915K this year and 1.55 mil next year which is woefully underpaid based on his performance.

Why is that you say? Why shouldn't the team wait and see if he can "do it again" and then offer him a new deal?

Before I answer those questions I will show his contract numbers (from rotoworld) and his stats (from nfl.com) ...

Percy Harvin
8/2/2009: Signed a five-year, $12.05 million contract. The deal contains $8.425 million guaranteed, including a $2,158,500 roster bonus in the third season. Another $2.2 million is available through incentives. 2012: $915,000, 2013: $1.55 million, 2014: Free Agent

Year Team G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2011 Minnesota Vikings 16 14 87 967 11.1 52T 6 52 345 6.6 39 2 2 2
2010 Minnesota Vikings 14 13 71 868 12.2 53T 5 18 107 5.9 17T 1 1 1
2009 Minnesota Vikings 15 8 60 790 13.2 51T 6 15 135 9.0 35 0 1 0

Percy won the Offensive ROY award in 2009, made the All Pro team, the Pro Bowl team, and has clearly gotten better each and every year. He has been very impressive when he has been on the field. Now some of the time when he was not on the field was because he plays so hard and gets dinged up. But there are other times when the Vikings purposely do not have him on the field. This is a mystery to me if it is not short yardage situations (i.e. jumbo packages). You would think that as an offensive coordinator you would want to make sure the majority of your plays (if not all) had Percy on the field. Now maybe that is unrealistic but I would strive for that to be the goal.

Another reason I think it should get done is because I do not want another Sidney Rice situation. Rice's situation was different because he did not have the same production as Percy through his first 3 years. But he still did well enough for me to get a new deal after the 2009 season. Yeah he got hurt again this year in Seattle but I still would have paid him to keep him on the Vikings. He is too good to have let go for a 4th round compensatory pick. But that is another topic but germaine to this topic.

If the Vikings let Percy play this year out and he puts up the same numbers as last year then he is going to be due a top WR contract. He was 6th in receptions last year (4th amongst WRs) for the entire league. If he does better then you know it is going to have to be a huge contract. If he even does his average he will get about 73 catches and 6 TDs. That is going to cost big bucks too.

So, at the end of the year he could and should want (and deserve) big money and the team may or may not want to pay him. Why they would not would definitely be a mystery. But who knows with this group?

If you look at the recent history of the team you will see that Cedric Griffin received a new deal after his third year, EJ Henderson & John Sullivan received new deals in December of their final year of their original contract. Brian Robison & Letroy Guion received new deals in March after their deals expired and just before free agency. Chad Greenway had the franchise tag placed on him. Erin Henderson was allowed to hit free agency before he signed a new one year deal.

Now all of these deals happened when they did for various reasons with the CBA being a main consideration in the most recent extensions. But the Cedric Griffen deal is the one I look to and use as an example of the team doing the right thing to lock up a player a year early rather that a year late. Now since he was injured after playing an entire season on his new deal that could cause the team to be cautious. But you cannot do anything about that just like with AP. Stuff happens but a player deserves to be compensated fairly.

Tom Peliserro at 1500espn.com wrote a couple of recent articles talking about Percy's season and his contract ...

http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/2011_Vikings_Review_Percy_Harvin_earns_highest_grade_on_offense013112
He ended this review by saying this ...
"Still only 23 years old, Harvin has a chance to play himself into a monster contract after next season if he stays healthy -- and if the Vikings don't lock him up first."

... in this article about his contract he said a few things that I disagree with ...
http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Pelissero_Vikings_know_Percy_Harvins_baggage_but_will_they_pay_him041312

This is almost a character assassination. He knows more about what goes on with the team than I do so I have to believe he is getting good information. I think the drug use references are bogus as he has not tested positive for anything since the combine. So why continue to bring it up after 3 years? There were more than a few players who did not like the coaching style, etc. of Childress as well.

The bottom line is Percy Harvin has produced on the field when given the opportunity. He is arguably the toughest player pound for pound on the team. He plays so hard which causes him to get dinged up. They may have to try and get him to dial it back a little and pick and choose his spots. But that is taking away from who he is as a player and a very tough call as a coach. Still, if he can avoid some hits then he can probably get more snaps.

In the end, I think they should get it done now to keep him totally happy and even more focused (as if he is not already). Considering the QB situation last year, Percy was outstanding!

If I am running things I am calling his agent and saying let's do this now. His agent could want to wait a year in order to get even more money provided that Percy does as well as he has in the past. But that comes with risk. What if Percy gets hurt? Then the team may wait until the end of 2013 to give him a new deal and/or possibly franchise tag him. I am no agent but I would think that getting guaranteed money now would be something that they would want rather than playing this season for 915K.

So how much should he get? Let' see some recent contracts of young WRs ...

Steve Johnson
3/5/2012: Signed a five-year, $36.25 million contract. The deal contains $18.05 million guaranteed, including an $8.5 million signing bonus, initial workout bonus of $100,000, and all of Johnson's first-year base salary. Johnson is eligible for annual offseason workout bonuses of $275,000 in years two through five. 2012: $2.5 million, 2013: $2.55 million (+ $4.5 million option bonus), 2014: $3.65 million (+ $1.75 million roster bonus), 2015: $5.5 million (+ $250,000 roster bonus), 2016: $5.85 million, 2017: Free Agent

Year Team G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
2011 Buffalo Bills 16 16 76 1,004 13.2 55 7
2010 Buffalo Bills 16 13 82 1,073 13.1 45 10
2009 Buffalo Bills 5 0 2 10 5.0 5 0
2008 Buffalo Bills 11 1 10 102 10.2 21 2

Pierre Garcon
3/13/2012: Signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract. The deal contains $20.5 million guaranteed, including an $11 million signing bonus and Garcon's 2012 base salary. 2012: $2.1 million, 2013: $5.6 million, 2014-2015: $7.1 million, 2016: $7.6 million, 2017: Free Agent

Year Team G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2011 Indianapolis Colts 16 16 70 947 13.5 87T 6 4 28 7.0 18 0 2 2
2010 Indianapolis Colts 14 14 67 784 11.7 57T 6 2 6 3.0 11 0 0 0
2009 Indianapolis Colts 14 13 47 765 16.3 66 4 2 10 5.0 17 0 1 0
2008 Indianapolis Colts 14 0 4 23 5.8 12 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Greg Jennings
6/23/2009: Signed a four-year, $26.885 million contract. The cap-friendly deal (after 2009) contains $16.25 million guaranteed, including an $11.25 million signing bonus and Jennings' first-year base salary. Another $3 million is available through incentives, including $25,000 per game played, $25,000 each season if he plays in 12 games and the Packers make the playoffs, and escalators maxing out at $700,000 in 2010, $1 million in 2011, and $1.25 million in 2012 based on playing time and team performance. $300,000 offseason workout bonuses are available 2010-2012. 2012: $3.885 million, 2013: Free Agent

Year Team G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2011 Green Bay Packers 13 13 67 949 14.2 79T 9 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2010 Green Bay Packers 16 16 76 1,265 16.6 86T 12 1 -1 -1.0 -1 0 2 0
2009 Green Bay Packers 16 13 68 1,113 16.4 83T 4 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2008 Green Bay Packers 16 15 80 1,292 16.2 63 9 -- -- -- -- -- 1 0
2007 Green Bay Packers 13 13 53 920 17.4 82T 12 -- -- -- -- -- 1 0
2006 Green Bay Packers 14 11 45 632 14.0 75T 3 -- -- -- -- -- 1 0

Santonio Holmes
7/30/2011: Signed a five-year, $45.25 million contract. The deal contains $24 million guaranteed, including all of Holmes' first- and second-year salaries. He is eligible for annual $250,000 workout bonuses in years two through four. 2012: $7.75 million, 2013: $11 million, 2014: $8.25 million (+ $1 million roster bonus due in March), 2015: $6.5 million, 2016: Free Agent

Year Team G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2011 New York Jets 16 16 51 654 12.8 38T 8 3 27 9.0 23 0 2 1
2010 New York Jets 12 10 52 746 14.3 52 6 2 17 8.5 14 0 2 2
2009 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 16 79 1,248 15.8 57 5 3 6 2.0 7 0 -- --
2008 Pittsburgh Steelers 15 15 55 821 14.9 48 5 2 9 4.5 10 0 4 1
2007 Pittsburgh Steelers 13 13 52 942 18.1 83 8 5 17 3.4 11 0 2 0
2006 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 4 49 824 16.8 67T 2 1 13 13.0 13 0 5 2

Mike Wallace
2012: Restricted Free Agent (First-Round Tender $2.7 million

Year Team G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 14 72 1,193 16.6 95T 8 5 57 11.4 21 0 1 1
2010 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 16 60 1,257 21.0 56T 10 5 39 7.8 19 0 1 0
2009 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 4 39 756 19.4 60T 6 5 48 9.6 21 0 1 1

I think that the starting point has to be the Pierre Garcon deal regardless of whether or not you feel he was overpaid. The Santonio Holmes deal is also a good one to use as an example. But Percy runs the ball out of the backfield as well which makes him even more valuable. And he did kickoff returns too.

It is going to take some tall cotton to get him signed right now. I am thinking it has to be around 5 year 45 to 50 mil right now.

How much is it going to take at the end of the year? Would you want to wait until the end of the year to "see" if he is worth it or puts up another solid season? Why? The kid has proved that he deserves to get paid now!

915K is not enough. Plain and simple.

I just think you should take care of your players early rather than late. Just because you can underpay someone does not mean that you should.

Time to pay the piper!

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