|Where will Harvin end up when the smoke clears? (US Presswire)|
Percy Harvin's situation in Minnesota sure seems to be unfolding in an awkward fashion rather rapidly. There are rumors the Vikings are interested in trading him and rumors he wants to hold out until he gets a new contract.
CBS Sports colleague Clark Judge previously suggested trading Harvin might be a smart move. I disagree from the perspective that Harvin brings a lot to the table that other wideouts don't. He was playing -- and I'm not using hyperbole here -- at an MVP level through the first quarter of the 2012 season. (Oddly, his teammate Adrian Peterson ended up taking that award home.) He'd be worth a first-round pick in a vacuum and if you don't believe me, I present Exhibits A-Z:
Dude was dominating with Christian Ponder under center and if he's happy and healthy, he's going to produce. Of course, that's easier said then done and those issues limit what the Vikings can get in return for him.
But there will be teams who are interested in trading for Harvin, even knowing he's a human migraine who wants a new deal. Let's assume no one has to peddle a first-round pick for him (a second-round and change could get it done) and consider a few teams that might make sense.
Teams who are willing to be aggressive, have cap space and need receiver help are the most likely to make something happen.
Sure, Mike Brown might not stand out to you as a guy who's trying to make an aggressive play for a wideout in a trade followed by a big-time signing. But let's not forget the Bengals are sitting on an extra second-round pick ... thanks to sending Carson Palmer to Oakland in an aggressive (but easy) trade they made two years ago.
Could they get someone cheaper than Harvin in the second round? Sure. Could they get someone better? No way.
And what the Bengals badly need more than anything on offense right now is a playmaker opposite A.J. Green. Harvin would be exactly that and his ability to dominate in the short field would force defenses to ease up on shifting coverages heavily in Green's direction, opening things up for Andy Dalton to take shots downfield.
Best of all, the Bengals currently have more cap space than any other team in the NFL.
New England's in a sticky situation when it comes to their wideouts: Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd could both end up being gone, and they don't have a true vertical threat. Perhaps Harvin doesn't represent that, but he is the type of wideout Josh McDaniels could get incredibly freaky with (see: GIF above).
The Patriots aren't shy about taking in troubled former Gators (Aaron Hernandez springs to mind), they like to attack in the short game with their wideouts and they're far enough under the cap even after having already locked up guys like Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
Bill Belichick is not afraid to move draft picks and usually has 10 billion of them.
Michael Crabtree's emergence as a legit No. 1 wideout, as well as Colin Kaepernick coming into his own as a dynamic quarterback, truly made the 49ers an explosive offense. But there's no reason for them to stop improving, you know?
Cap space is an issue for San Francisco, but they also have some potential cap space to free up by dumping Alex Smith onto the market (or, heck, spin him for a fourth-round pick somewhere and package that with a second to land Harvin) and shouldn't be too concerned with contracts coming up in the future.
Harvin would only make an offense that became dangerous in 2012 even more explosive and Jim Harbaugh/Greg Roman would absolutely know how to use him.
It's unclear whether Harvin represents the type of guy Joe Philbin wants to bring onto his roster. But it's completely clear that Harvin would represent a major upgrade over anyone else that Miami currently has in their wide receiving corps.
Brian Hartline's set to be a free agent and isn't worth the franchise tag. Then there ... OK that's all they have. Perhaps they'll go after a free agent like Dwayne Bowe or Greg Jennings, and perhaps the investment would be easier to swallow than going after Harvin (only a contract versus draft picks and a contract). But we saw how much better Ponder was with Harvin on the field; he could have that same effect on Ryan Tannehill.
Additionally, Harvin's more dynamic than either Bowe or Jennings in terms of what he can do and where he can line up. The Dolphins are also flush with cap space.
How many times last year did we see Santana Moss break a short screen pass from Robert Griffin III for big yardage? It felt like a ton and while Moss is fast -- oh-dear-god can you imagine Harvin catching those passes?
Washington invested heavily in their wideouts with a big contract handed to Pierre Garcon and has additional issues to address going forward if they want to get back to the playoffs (starting with: Will RG3 actually be under center to start the year). But Harvin would take the Redskins offense from deadly to flat-out lethal.
The Skins have the cap space available to make an investment in Harvin. The bigger issue is draft picks for Washington, who gave up the farm in order to draft RG3. Coughing up more draft picks is aggressive, but are they really going to find a better player than Harvin in the second round of this year's draft? It would be bold and could potentially backfire, which has "Redskins" written all over it.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora wrote recently that people in the Steelers organization fear Cleveland will end up landing current Pittsburgh wideout Mike Wallace. Wallace is young, talented, explosive and wants a lot of money for his services. Which makes him just like Harvin, only he's not as dynamic and had a red-flag-raising year in 2012 after holding out.
The Browns didn't do themselves any favors with the Julio Jones trade a few years ago and are short a second-round pick because they grabbed Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft. That might make it difficult to make a play for Harvin.
But cap space is abundant in Cleveland and playmakers are a necessity right now. Rob Chudzinksi could do some spicy things with Harvin on his roster (just look at Steve Smith's monster season during Cam Newton's rookie year).
A couple other teams stand out because they need help at wideout, have cap space or have high draft picks in the second round.
The Colts could use another playmaker for Andrew Luck and are flush with cap space right now, but might rather invest in linemen to protect their quarterback and/or defensive players, particularly with Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton looking like a formidable duo along with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen.
The Jaguars need more playmakers always and forever. But would they give up the second pick in the second round for Harvin? That's a lot to ask especially when they have so many issues in other spots. Cap space is a little tight as well.
And the Chiefs could make sense, particularly if Bowe is going to bounce out of town. After him, they have, um, Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin. Harvin fits as a guy that new coach Andy Reid would like, but cap space isn't ideal and they have some current players they need to lock up before they worry about adding via trade and a big extension.