Should the Texans go after Percy Harvin?
From a strictly football standpoint, Percy Harvin would be a great fit in Houston.
But the NFL isn’t just football. It’s a business.
And the business-side doesn’t add up to the Texans trading for the Vikings’ wide receiver.
According to ProFootballTalk, Harvin is expected to hold out if he doesn’t get a new contract. His base salary is set to be just over $1.5 million with a cap hit of $2.678 in 2013 and, sure, the Texans could afford that. But that’s not all they’d have to pay to get Harvin to show up.
Trading for Harvin would be the easy part. If the Vikings do want to trade Harvin, they’ve already lost a ton of leverage. From a football standpoint, it would be an easy call to give up a couple of draft picks – a second-round, third or fourth or any combination of the three – to get a guy like Harvin. Heck, even a late first-round pick might be worth it. (The Texans own the 27th pick).
In his four years in the league, Harvin has been an explosive receiver but he’s never been a great one. He’s never surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark. His best season was in 2011, when he caught 87 passes for 967 yards and six touchdowns.
Not only would Harvin become an immediate improvement over Kevin Walter or DeVier Posey (who’s injured) as the No. 2 receiver option after Andre Johnson, but Harvin is a dangerous return man. That’s an area the Texans were lacking in 2012.
In Harvin, the Texans would get a guy who is already proven with a team seemingly on the cusp of being a Super Bowl contender. Certainly acquiring Harvin would make the Texans an even more impressive contender for the Lombardi Trophy. And, Harvin would most likely be more productive than any rookie the Texans could draft.
So, the Texans will definitely go after Harvin, right?
Sure, from a football standpoint, it makes sense, but like we said, football isn’t just football.
Harvin has had his fair share of character issues and he’s had them dating back to his time under Urban Meyer at Florida. He’s also reportedly worn out his welcome with Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier. If you’re keeping count, that’s the second Vikings’ head coach Harvin hasn’t gotten along with. The first was Brad Childress.
Apparently, Harvin’s blowup with Frazier was so bad, it was reportedly the reason he left the team early this season, not his ankle injury. And Frazier doesn’t have a reputation for being a difficult guy to get along with.
The Texans aren't big on guys with questionable character.
But that’s not even the real reason it seems unlikely the Texans would go after Harvin. The real reason is, as it always is, money. Harvin’s base salary would be around $1.5 million in 2013 but he’d cost a lot more.
Harvin reportedly plans to hold out and wants a big-time contract. If a team trades for Harvin, they better be prepared to pay him or he’s not going to show up to camp. Since Harvin is a veteran in the NFL (he just finished his fourth season) he can show up by Week 10 and be credited for a year of service and become a free agent at the end of the season.
Houston, according to the NFL, will have around $6.1 million to work with under the cap. But that’s before they re-sign the guys they had on last year’s roster.
They will look to re-sign Glover Quin and Bradie James. They'll probably look to sign Shaun Cody and Connor Barwin. But even if they can't re-sign all of those guys, they'll still need to bring in players to fill their spots. Add that to corner Brice McCain, perhaps James Casey, a third-string running back and depth at a few positions and $12.9 million doesn't stretch far.
To make matters tighter, there aren't a lot of places for the Texans to cut salary either. They could cut Kevin Walter. But it wouldn't help that much long-term. In fact, money is so tight that the Texans will probably need to restructure a few contracts just to stay under the cap.
And they have to think about the not-so-distant future. Brian Cushing’s contract is up after next season and J.J. Watt's and Kareem Jackson’s deals are up after 2014. The Texans wouldn't make a move that would hinder their ability to re-sign very key players in upcoming seasons.
So from a football standpoint, Harvin would be great. Should the Texans at least talk about it and maybe kick a few tires? Sure, it can't hurt. But, realistically, it doesn’t look like a move the Texans would make.