Florio reported in June that disgruntled-then-not Vikings receiver Percy Harvin would view the 2012 season as his contract year, before targeting a new deal in 2013. Harvin’s mindset is that the upcoming season will be his last in Minnesota if his long-term contract demands are not met.
As Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities explains, however, the Vikings may balk at committing big money to a player about whom they have lingering concerns. Harvin has missed a lot of practice time over the course of his first three seasons. He has excelled as a slot receiver, but struggled when asked to play outside. Per Pelissero, Harvin has a “reputation within the building for being emotional and unpredictable.”
And Harvin’s unforeseen late-June trade request did nothing to calm the team’s fears.
NFL teams have been perhaps too willing, in recent years, to give temperamental wide receivers lucrative long-term contracts. Pelissero reports that people within the league were “stunned” when the Jets handed Santonio Holmes $7.25 million up front and $24 million guaranteed last July.
This offseason, the Eagles gave DeSean Jackson a five-year, $47 million contract with a $10 million signing bonus after his worst NFL season.
New Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson signed for in excess of $55 million over five seasons, a whopping $26 million of which is guaranteed. Jackson is more than five years older than Harvin, and has a more troubling off-the-field history.
One NFL executive told Pelissero that, had Harvin’s now-rescinded trade demand been granted, the Vikings likely would have received offers of only a second-day pick. And finding common ground on a long-term deal following the season is not going to be easy, because the Vikings will want an “out,” protecting themselves in case something goes wrong.
“That’s what I think it comes down to,” said the executive, “that if this guy does get a payday, contractual structure, protecting the downside of the club, the character risk involved — all those things may come into effect.
“The money may sound good on a whole on the front page of the paper, but the minutiae how of the contract gets laid out for the player to get all the money involved, I think that’d be important with a player like Percy Harvin.”