Percy Harvin is very talented, but he is also very troubled. Harvin has fought through migraines and other injuries throughout his short career, while he has also already been involved in a controversy with his head coach that will play a part in him leaving his first franchise. That is all without even considering his expected contract demands that will likely only be eclipsed in the coming years by Mike Wallace.
Despite being a potential MVP candidate when healthy this year, Harvin is expected to leave the Minnesota Vikings this off-season with compensation expected to be around a third round pick. Because of his talent, that price is likely to bloat when a market develops involving many members of the 32-team league.
Some believe the Cincinnati Bengals could be a potential suitor for Harvin. The Bengals have never feared taking on a young talent with a questionable reputation if they believe it will improve their team. He would definitely improve the Bengals’ offense. In fact, not only is he an upgrade as a game-changing receiver, he would also fill a massive need for a second starting wide receiver.
Aside from AJ Green, the Bengals have many talented receivers, but none have stepped up and taken a stranglehold over the starting position just yet. Both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu looked set to establish themselves last year, but neither remained in the role long enough to guarantee themselves the first shot next season.
Of course, that is the case for Harvin’s arrival in Cincinnati. Acquiring him would make any competition between Sanu and Jones irrelevant, at least as far as the starting receiver slot is concerned. What must also be considered is the compensation and risk that comes with him. There is no way the Bengals will get him for a third overall pick. The Bengals pick 21st overall in each round. The idea that there are 20 teams who are supposedly worse than them with higher third round picks who don’t want Harvin is irrational. In order to acquire him, the Bengals would need to swap out a second round pick and potentially more.
Even if they manage to win the auction for the young receiver’s services, they would then be forced to either give him a massive contract extension or wade out one season before he becomes a free agent. Considering Harvin’s durability and the Bengals’ need to lock up their other superstars currently on the roster, a long-term deal is simply out of the question. If he did play one full season for the Bengals and then the franchise tagged him, then he likely wouldn’t be happy and would hold out again–or at least threaten to do so. Harvin wants a big deal that will set him up for the long term. Unfortunately, while the Bengals can overlook his character qualms, they would be ignorant to ignore his durability issues.
Considering how the Bengals’ offense is set up, Harvin doesn’t represent value for the Bengals. Nor does he fit in the team’s development curve. Instead of adding the big name receiver, the Bengals need to lock up Andre Smith for the long-term and re-sign/replace their defensive starters in order to keep their defense on track. Helping Andy Dalton isn’t only about adding weapons to his arsenal. It is about managing the responsibility that will be put on his shoulders.