But there’s so much more that Harvin brings to the table. It’s true that he’s not a traditional big money wide receiver that is capable of playing outside and consistently beats one-on-one man coverage, however he constantly draws the defenses attention lining up in the slot, backfield and occasionally outside. He currently leads the Vikings in targets at 48 with tight end Kyle Rudolph being a distant second at 30 and if it weren’t for his presence all over the field defenses would have a much easier time putting 8 men in the box targeting Adrian Peterson.
Looking at Harvin’s contract he is making a mere $915,000 this season and is due $1.55 million in the last remaining year next season. If the Vikings are serious about keeping Harvin a Viking “for years to come” as general manager Rick Spielman hoped for this offseason, it is in their best interest to approach him now of over this offseason about a long-term extension. 1500ESPN’s Tom Pelissero reported earlier this year that Harvin would not report to camp next season without an extension, so forget about playing next year and then slapping him with the franchise tag. The one advantage of right now is Harvin may be amenable to getting a deal done sooner rather than later expressing his enthusiasm for offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and with each passing game the value of his contract tends to ascend in price. Winning breeds happy moods and permanence. It’s worth noting that our rivals next door, the Packers, were able to extend wide receiver Jordy Nelson on a four-year $14 million deal that contained $5 million guaranteed. However much of a good teammate Percy has been this offseason, it’s hard to believe that he’d accept a similar deal than what Nelson signed for. So at what price? Is Harvin really worth elite wide receiver money? One could easily argue yes. Lets look at which wide receivers have the heftiest contracts…
Calvin Johnson – 8 years / $150 million, $60 million guaranteed
Larry Fitzgerald – 8 years / $120 million — $50 million guaranteed
Andre Johnson – 7 years / $62 million — $48 million guaranteed
Vincent Jackson – 5 years / $55 million — $26 million guaranteed
Brandon Marshall – 5 years / $47 million – $25 million guaranteed
Santonio Holmes – 5 years / $45.25 million — $24 million guaranteed
Pierre Garcon – 5 years / $42.5 million — $20.5 million guaranteed
Roddy White — 6 years / $48 million — $18.6 million guaranteed
Sidney Rice – 5 years / $41 million — $18.5 million guaranteed
Miles Austin — 7 years / $57 million — $18 million guaranteed
Harvin’s agent, Joel Segal, was the same agent who got Michael Vick a 6-year, $100-million contract ($31.5 million guaranteed) in August of 2011 and running back Chris Johnson six-year, $55.26 million ($30 million guaranteed) last September. Looking at the figures above of wide receivers it’s safe to assume that negotiations will start at $20 million guaranteed and move upward from that. Is there any way that Harvin accepts less than what Santonio Holmes received? Most likely Harvin will want to be paid as elite wide receiver and want a contract at least in striking range of Adrian Peterson’s $36 million guaranteed with wide receivers having a longer shelf life and being over 3 years younger. A lot of money, yes. But Harvin is a rare breed that’s worth holding onto. Zygi had best have his checkbook ready. And soon.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig