The latest piece of news that is creating excitement and speculation is the story that the Minnesota Vikings might be looking to trade wide receiver Percy Harvin. Some have already suggested that the Rams should trade for Percy Harvin. Why? Because he is a dynamic playmaker who would instantly upgrade the Ram offense, his contract for 2013 is relatively cheap and we might only have to give up a second or third round pick in a trade. Although these reasons may make a trade look enticing on the surface, when you look a little deeper you will see that there are numerous reasons why the Rams will not trade for Percy Harvin.
The Brandon Lloyd factor
Remember when the Rams old regime traded for Brandon Lloyd, giving up a fifth round pick in the process? He was in the last year of his contract. He moved with McDaniels to the Patriots. For the Rams he amounted to a one season rental. Harvin's contract ends in 2013. The same scenario that happened with Lloyd can easily happen with Harvin. Demoff and Snead are no dummies. Before consummating a trade, they would want a reasonably priced contract extension in place for 2014 and beyond. The odds of this happening are slim to nil. Why wouldn't Harvin test the free agent market to determine what his value is? At any rate, the Rams are not likely to take a chance on the possibility of ending up with a one year rental and losing draft pick(s) in the process.
The Minnesota Vikings
When I first heard of this news I instantly thought of one thing: Why would the Vikings want to trade Harvin? Health issues? Migraines? Concussions? Injuries? Attitude? Locker room problems? Volatility? The cost of re-signing him for next year and beyond? All of them have been mentioned as possible reasons for the Vikings wanting to trade him. Combined, they could be the only reason(s) that a team like the Vikings, who are so bereft of playmakers on offense (notwithstanding A.P.) and wide receiving targets for Christian Ponder, would even consider trading him. The Vikings reasons for wanting to trade him are the very reasons that the Rams will not consider trading for him. Who wants all those additional "headaches", so-to-speak.
Titus Young and risk
In many ways it made sense for the Rams to acquire Titus Young. They gave up nothing for him. His contract still has two years remaining and is very, very cheap. The risk taken by the Rams is minimal. Such is not the case with Harvin. Presuming Minnesota eats the 1.1 million in bonus due to Harvin in 2013, the Rams will still be on the hook for 2.9 million against the cap for 2013. Given the tight cap space situation, this is considerably more financial risk and cap problematic than the risk and cap space taken with Young's contract. Let alone the fact that Harvin will cost the Rams quality draft picks, which of course was not the case with Titus Young.
Money, the cap and beyond 2013
For the sake of argument let's presume that Demoff can pull of a miracle and make Harvin's 2013 contract work within the cap space restrictions we are encountering this year. What happens beyond this year? Harvin, if he stays healthy and productive in 2013, will no doubt command a long term contract with 8-10 million in salary per year. Can the Rams afford this in the future? The 2014 cap space situation looks to be only slightly better than 2013 at this time. A new contract of 9 million to a player will cause havoc in 2014. Demoff could be creative and back load some of the contract to other years. He has stated many times that he doesn't want to do that with contracts. Why not? Two reasons: 1/ it only pushes off the problem to future years and can create bigger problems down the road 2/ we had a great draft class in 2012 (and likely will in 2013 and 14). At some point those players will have to be re-signed. If they keep hitting on the draft picks like they have to-date, you can see many big contracts in the Rams future just from the players they are drafting. Going forward, signing big contract free agents is not a good strategy when you are trying to build a Super Bowl team through the draft.
As much as I would love to consider trading for Percy Harvin, the factors mentioned in this post preclude me from thinking that this trade could ever move beyond the stage of sheer speculation. Thanks for reading! Please vote in the poll I added after publishing this post. Your comments and opinions are always welcome!