It’s clear that receiver Percy Harvin wants out of Minnesota, but it’s not clear why.
Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that it’s not simply about Harvin wanting a new contract. Per Fowler, a desire to replace a rookie deal that covers the next two seasons is not the “sole driving force” behind Harvin’s request for a new address.
So what’s going on? I addressed the possibilities during Wednesday’s PFT Live, and what the heck I’ll reduce some of what I said to writing, right here.
The contract is an obvious sticking point. With the new labor deal taking the windfalls away from first-round draft picks, young players who have outperformed their rookie contracts will want to be rewarded before playing out their rookie contracts and laboring for a season or two under the franchise tag. For Harvin, the 22nd pick in 2009, he definitely has overshot his slot. So it makes sense that he’d want more money.
He also may want more opportunities. Last year, the team faced criticism for not using him enough. Harvin nevertheless generated 967 yards receiving, 345 yards rushing, and 520 yards on kickoff returns. That’s 1,823 all-purpose yards, without being utilized to the maximum extent.
Then there’s the fast friendship he struck with Randy Moss during Randy’s brief return to the team in 2010. Harvin wasn’t happy when former coach Brad Childress fired Moss, and we’ve pointed out a time or two (to the chagrin of Chilly) that Harvin’s migraines left for good once Childress did, too. The Vikings among other things didn’t like the example Moss was setting for Harvin, and it’s anyone’s guess what Moss may have been saying to Harvin to make Harvin want to play somewhere else.
The only surprise is that coach Leslie Frazier hasn’t been able to fix the situation. Widely regarded as someone who can get through to Harvin, Frazier on multiple occasions defused disputes between Harvin and Childress. None of that may matter, however, if Moss already has persuaded Harvin that he needs to be with a team that will use him more, that will pay him more, and that will generally allow him to get maximum recognition for his talents.
If the 49ers weren’t already stocked at every skill position, we’d wonder whether Moss was trying to get Harvin traded to San Francisco.
Knowing Moss, he may be giving it a try anyway.