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New York Jets Must Deal With The ‘Percy Harvin’ Conundrum

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Harvin is a talented weapon, but may be on someone else’s roster next season.

Jets new management and staff currently find themselves within their honeymoon period and they’ve already managed to stumble upon their potentially first big decision of the marriage – Percy Harvin.  No, there isn’t a simple fix for this situation, as there are more than a few important variables involved here, none more-so than the $10.5 million Percy is owed if he’s on the roster the first day of the regular season.

Yes I understand the Jets will lose a 4th round pick if Percy is on the roster past a certain deadline, but they drafted a WR in the 4th round last season and that WR is playing elsewhere right now, so I’ll pass on making this about a 4th round pick.

There aren’t any “no-brainers” in this situation in any direction.  It’s a seemingly complex situation that will require tough decisions either way.

Harvin made it clear towards the end of the season that he wants to remain a Jet.

“I feel at home here – I’m comfortable with all the players ….I like the vibe around here.

Of course I wouldn’t expect him to say anything to the contrary considering as talented as he is, he does find himself on his third team in as many years, and is likely looking for somewhere he can finally settle and retire.  But just because I expected him to say what he said and it was seemingly the politically correct thing to say, doesn’t mean it was disingenuous.  Personally, I think the feeling should be mutual between he and the Jets, but again, considering all variables included, I can understand if it isn’t.

Here’s something that’s very interesting – In almost six years, and having started in only 55% of games, Harvin has averaged 56.9 yards per game, 13.2 rushing yards per game and a total of 21 receiving TDs and five rushing TDs during that span. In Percy’s first three seasons in the league he played in 45 games, but during the past four seasons, he’s managed to play in only 23 games, and eight of those games were with the Jets.  Consistency and health have been a legitimate concern for the talented WR as of late, but during his brief stint with the Jets, he showed, even with inconsistent and sometimes flat-out bad QB play, that he still has what it takes to cause opposing defenses to remain fearful of his presence on the field.

With the Jets last season, in limited action, Harvin averaged 12.2 yards per reception and posted a six-catch, 124-yard performance vs the Vikings.  The flash was there and honestly, it was enough to show that he still has the same explosiveness and deep threat ability he had when first entering the league.

Percy Harvin will the first big roster decison for the Jets new management and staff.I think the Jets only owe that 4th round pick and his salary if Harvin is on the roster on the first day of the regular season. That is a big negotiation advantage for the Jets.

Percy has this stigma on him that he’s nothing more than a “gimmick player” and that couldn’t be further from the truth.  He is very talented in the punt-return area, but he’s far from a gimmick player.  Is he an unpolished WR? Sure, that’s an argument I can take, but he’s more than a gimmick.  Essentially the anti-Harvin crowd will see what they want to see and use certain numbers to “argue” this point, but I think he’s more and can be more than that for this Jets team as soon as next season.

The Jets hired Chan Gailey as their new offensive coordinator and by now I’m sure we’re all cognizant of the fact that Gailey knows his way around the Spread Offense.  It is hard to say if Gailey will go full spread or not, but if this is in fact the case and the spread it is, then I think Harvin fits that offense about as well as Tavon Austin fit the Spread/Air-Raid offense at West Virginia.  Earlier I stated that there weren’t any “no-brainers” in this particular case but I lied, there’s one and that’s ~~~> Spread Offense + Percy Harvin = No-brainer.

Yes, Harvin can stand to upgrade his route running, but for the most part, that’s not a big enough issue for me.  The biggest concern at this point with Harvin is his injury concerns and salary.  I for one would love to see him not utilized so much out of the backfield to limit the amount of hits he takes.  If Harvin continues taking the same kind of hits as Chris Ivory I can guarantee you he’ll stay injured.  I would love to see Percy being utilized from within the slot and consistently kept in motion, kind of like how Alabama and Lane Kiffin utilized Amari Cooper this past season.

Personally I believe Harvin is worth the 4th round pick.  Is he worth $10 million? I would max out at $7.5/$8 per with him and give him a chance to earn $1-$2 mill more by adding some incentives he can garner by reaching certain goals.

If Harvin and the Jets can’t meet in the middle, Randall Cobb, Jeremy Maclin or Demaryius Thomas are all legitimate and seemingly feasible options for the Jets that will require the Jets to take the wait and see approach with all of them.  My stance is rather simple; if Harvin doesn’t feel the need to negotiate and lower that price tag, I’ll be willing to part ways with him if the Jets are comfortable in knowing they are likely going to end up with one of the three aforementioned WRs.

Geno Smith, the guy I believe will end up being the starting QB for the Jets (barring an aggressive move for another QB that can flatout keep Geno on the bench), is lobbying for Harvin right now and I don’t blame him. Any QB would love to have such a weapon at their disposal and Geno needs all the support he can get as he himself is likely entering a season in which it’s put up or go away.

If Harvin leaves and joins another team, it’s likely that he’ll only fetch an incentive laden deal.  Usually WRs play passionately under these type of deals in order to prove themselves.

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So here are the questions that will be answered soon –

– Can new Jets GM Mike Maccagnan meet Harvin halfway and throw an acceptable deal on the table that includes some reasonable incentives?

– Can Jets new head coach Todd Bowles motivate/convince Percy to play with the same passion here with the Jets he’d presumably play with under an heavy incentive laden deal on another team?

Time will tell, but I think the Jets are better off with Percy on this team.  March 19th is the deadline, hopefully we know something before then.

Next: Justin Houston Joins Jets in Mock Off-Season

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