Well, this was an interesting thing to wake up to this morning.
While trying to learn more about the current row between the Vikings and Percy Harvin this morning, I found this interesting article from Brian McIntyre from NFL.com about the salary that Percy Harvin is going to be paid over the course of the next couple of years.
Harvin has already earned about $8.9 million of his $14.25 million rookie deal, according to McIntyre. He has also, apparently, reached a couple of performance incentives that will increase his 2013 salary from the published number of $1.175 million.
According to a source with knowledge of Harvin's contract, the former Florida standout was originally scheduled to earn $1.175 million in base salary in 2013. That figure increased by $350,000 when Harvin caught more than 55 passes as a rookie (he finished with 60 receptions) and another $25,000 when Harvin was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Each season Harvin has with 70 or more receptions triggers a $500,000 increase in his 2013 base salary. With two 70-plus catch seasons (2010, 2011) on his resume, Harvin's base salary will increase to at least $2.55 million in the final season of his rookie contract.
Harvin has an additional $793,750 in base salary escalation available, based on his playing time, receiving production and Pro Bowl selection status this season.
Should Harvin maximize the remaining escalation available, he'll have a base salary of $3,343,750 in 2013, that would bring his earnings (base salary plus workout bonuses) over these next two seasons to $4,313,750.
Is Percy Harvin underpaid? If you look at the fact that he's making less than teammates Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins, and his level of production, then he certainly is, yes. But that's the way the NFL works. . .you play out your rookie contract and hit free agency, or you play out most of your rookie contract and, if you've outperformed your contract, you get a nice, fat extension.
Harvin's still under his rookie contract. The Vikings took a chance in the first round on him after several teams had removed him from their draft boards completely due to his substance abuse issues. Yes, he's been an outstanding performer for the Vikings, and clearly deserves an increase in salary.
But there must have been a better way for Harvin to have gone about this. Yes, he hasn't said anything publicly, and left practice today without talking to the media, but enough different sources are reporting it that something is obviously going on. The way I see it, Harvin doesn't have a whole lot of leverage here. There's no way the Vikings are trading him, because a) they're not going to get anything remotely resembling equal value for him, and b) if they trade him for picks, those picks don't do anything to help this team this year. That would leave the Vikings with a huge hole to fill and nobody to fill it with (unless you think that Jarius Wright is already the second coming of Harvin, which would be a substantial jump for him to make at this point).
That and the Vikings don't have to trade him. I don't think Percy is going to be sitting out or holding our or anything like that. He's going to play for the Vikings, or he isn't going to play. . .and if he isn't going to play, he isn't going to get paid, either. If his contract is the issue, holding our or sitting out would be exactly the wrong way for Harvin to remedy that problem.
Yes, The Percy Situation (™ Ted Glover) has given us something to talk about, and there will be much hand-wringing connected to it. However, when it's all said and done, I'd be willing to wager that when Training Camp starts in Mankato on 27 July, Percy Harvin will be there and fully participating in the festivities.