The Cincinnati Bengals could certainly use some upgrades on offense. Just ask any random fan on the street. The lack of a game-breaker at running back comes immediately to mind, and might be the biggest area of need but many fans will also point to the lack of a true number two wide receiver as another issue on that side of the ball. AJ Green is one of the best WRs in all of football, but consistently faces double and triple teams due to the lack of fear inspired on the other side of the field. Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu are certainly good young players, and will be important in the coming season but they’re not currently worrying defenses enough to draw coverage away from Green. A great number two receiver, along with Sanu and Jones would open things up for Green and give quarterback Andy Dalton a more potent offense, allowing him to further improve his game. So, could Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin be that guy? Should the Bengals trade for him? Will they trade for him?
Harvin, when healthy, is one of the most electric players in the NFL. He has speed and an elusiveness that can’t be taught and is always a breath away from taking one the distance. The Bengals, and any other team for that matter, could certainly benefit from having that kind of dangerous player on the field. First and foremost, he gives them a player that automatically takes heat off of Green, as he commands attention as well. This leaves Green with more chances to get deep and make the kinds of plays he has become known for. The other plus to trading for Harvin is that he is versatile. He can line up anywhere on the field, including the backfield, and be effective. He also is a very good kick returner, something the Bengals could use. His value shows in a plethora of ways and will scare opposing defensive coordinators who have to figure out how to stop two dynamic play-makers. His talent certainly makes him the kind of player the Bengals need, and worth trading for.
There are some potential pitfalls associated with acquiring Harvin. At the top of the list is the financial issue. Harvin wants a new contract and will likely ask any team that gets him to pay him, possibly even holding out until it happens. Mike Brown has to be aware of this before making any move, as he has had issues with players wanting more money in the past. Another unknown is Harvin’s health. His first three seasons saw him relatively injury-free but 2012 found him suffering from an ankle problem that ended his season. He has also suffered from migraines. If he’s 100%, his value is immeasurable but if he struggles to get into games again the trade is a huge loss. Then there is the question of attitude. Harvin has had issues with coaches in the past, including a possible blow-up which might have played into his being available. No team wants a distraction and a young team like the Bengals doesn’t need one.
A talented player like Harvin will certainly have a home in 2013 and be a big part of a game plan. The Bengals need a number two wideout and somebody with Harvin’s speed and ability could definitely make a big difference. If the Vikings decide to part ways with him, it should be considered strongly. It fills a big need and would make fans who crave a big name addition very happy. In the end, I don’t believe Mike Brown will make this move. His reticence to add big contracts to the team is well-known and the Bengals will likely to keep building this team through the draft. Though Harvin would certainly upgrade the roster, his potential holdout is a bit too scary and the team will likely give Jones and Sanu the chance to win the starting spot. If things don’t work out and the second WR spot struggles again in 2013, fans will once again point at Brown’s frugality and he will take the blame. It’s a tough call. I would take the shot, offering one of the second round picks for Harvin but I don’t think the Bengals will.