If you were to ask me four years ago if I would want Percy Harvin on the New York Jets, I would answer yes without a doubt. Now, it’s a little tough to say. Harvin was acquired in the middle of the 2014 season unexpectedly by the Jets.
It was possibly the biggest move Idzik ever made in his short tenure. The team currently faces a fairly significant issue with Harvin: whether or not to keep the former Florida standout.
Percy Harvin was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2009, where he would go on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and make the Pro Bowl. It did not take long for Harvin to show off his pure athleticism and speed that left defenders in the dust. The Vikings felt they just found a new franchise wide receiver they had been waiting for since the departure of Randy Moss. Following that season came the injuries and illnesses for Harvin.
Migraines became a concern for Harvin, and caused him to miss several games early in his career. Along with the head trauma, he also suffered injuries on a yearly basis ranging from ankle and hip to his ribs and shoulder. Many of these injuries caused Harvin to miss extensive time, and eventually the Vikings traded him to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks recognized the incredible talent that Harvin possessed and overlooked the injury concerns. After the trade from Minnesota, Seattle offered him an astounding six-year, $67 million dollar contract. Before Harvin even had a chance to appear in front of the “12th Man” he tore his labrum in his hip and was forced to undergo surgery.
Harvin recovered and returned to play during Week 15 of the 2013 regular season. He later received a concussion in the playoffs and would not return until the Super Bowl. Harvin did in fact make quite a splash coming back from injury. He erased all hopes of a Denver comeback by taking the opening kick of the second half back for a touchdown. Harvin made plays all over the field and was considered a serious candidate for Super Bowl MVP.
Coming off the Super Bowl victory Harvin was poised for a big season. That certainly did not happen. Harvin found himself extremely under-utilized in the Seattle offense and became a non-factor in the passing game. Due to locker room concerns, Pete Carroll felt Harvin was hurting the team and shipped him to New York in a miniscule deal. This shocked and hurt many Seattle players. The deal was for a tentative fourth-sixth round pick, depending on what the Jets choose to do this offseason.
Harvin played in eight games for the green and white this season and added another dimension to a weak offensive roster. He did not post sensational numbers, but was a key contributor in many games for the Jets. Harvin also served as the kick-returner replacement Jets fans have been waiting for since Brad Smith. The eight games Harvin played served as a tryout.
After the firing of Rex Ryan and John Idzik, the new GM and head coach have no ties to this deal. Mike Maccagnan is now left with his first big decision with the Jets. Harvin will be scheduled to make $10.5 million dollars if he remains with the team. Maccagnan will have until March 19 to decide. If the Jets choose to keep him Seattle will receive a fourth round pick, and if released, they will receive a 6th round pick.
Percy Harvin is still a dynamic receiver who also posts the threat to return a kick for a touchdown at any moment. At the same time, $10.5 million dollars is far too much for the Jets to be paying him next year. There are no questions, at that price Harvin should be released. There are alternatives. Harvin can be a large part of the Jets offense next year if he is willing to renegotiate his contract.
The Jets still lack a deep ball threat, and Harvin can provide this. There are no guarantees that Amari Cooper will be available at the number six pick in the draft, and all signs are leading to Mariota being in that spot for the taking. The Denver Broncos will certainly not allow possible free agent Demaryius Thomas to leave just before Peyton Manning’s last hoorah. That being said, if Harvin is willing to renegotiate; the Jets need to keep him. Interest from New England should also serve as a motivator.
Harvin should recognize that his appeal in the NFL is fading due to injury concerns and potential locker room issues. Todd Bowles is a coach that can keep a locker room in line, including Percy Harvin. By getting Harvin’s contract down to around $6.5 million dollars for this season, still a great deal, the Jets are not wasting money. They will be keeping a dual threat that can make sensational plays for a pretty solid price. We will see if Harvin can “swallow his pride” and be a part of Gang Green’s future.