PFT’s Michael David Smith reported this morning that Percy Harvin is requesting a trade out of Minnesota. With seemingly few options at receiver behind Harvin, Smith is right that the team is going to be reluctant to trade him. Doing so would be perceived by many Vikings fans as waiving the white flag on the season before it even begins.
Two factors, however, might influence the Vikings to change their mind. The first is Harvin himself. An unhappy Harvin might be a less-than-productive Harvin. The Vikings need only look at Chad Ochocinco’s 2008 season that followed his “Trade Me, Mike” media campaign to see what can happen when a receiver wants out.
The second is the team’s confidence in the other receivers on the roster. The team spoke glowingly of Jerome Simpson during OTAs, although they surely envisioned him as a #2 behind Harvin. If they are truly confident in Simpson, and they think that Michael Jenkins or Devin Aromashodu can pick up the slack behind him, they may be more open to a deal. (That may be a huge “if”. I don’t know the Vikings roster very well.)
Harvin is under contract for two more years, scheduled to earn a reasonable $915,000 this year and $1.5 million next year. So he would fit easily within the salary cap.
If the Bengals are interested in Harvin, they have plenty of collateral to take a good run at him. They could offer Minnesota the 2nd round pick that they have coming from Oakland in next year’s draft. (I am not usually one to throw around high picks, but getting Harvin for a 2nd rounder is well worth it.) And to sweeten the pot, I would offer up Jordan Shipley as well. The team is swimming in slot receivers like Sanu, Whalen and Hawkins. (From the early reports on him, I have a hunch that Sanu could take over at the slot anyway.) Minnesota would get a decent threat and a pick in exchange for a big threat. A win-win for both teams.
Josh Kirkendall at CincyJungle.com argues that the Bengals should not pursue Harvin because of the salary cap issue that would be created when his current contract is up. I completely disagree. The Bengals are not obligated to re-sign Harvin in two years. When he is a free agent, let him sign for big money somewhere else, taking the compensatory pick. In the meantime, the team would have two years to identify and develop the guy who will replace Harvin.
Think about it: two years of flooding the field with Green + Harvin + Sanu + Gresham + Charles, sometimes all five at once! It is literally impossible to adequately defend!