Explosive offense isn’t always easy to come by in the NFL. One week you have it and you can look unbeatable, the next an injury or suspension derails your offense completely. That simple fact is one key reason why even the biggest disappointments routinely get second and third chances in the league, and that’s why Percy Harvin will get yet another crack in 2016.
Despite numerous injuries and rumors he was pondering retirement, the speedy wide receiver is fully expected to suit up again next season and is reportedly currently weighing his options. Harvin stretched defenses still when he was at his best with the Buffalo Bills last year, but numerous health issues cut his 2015 campaign to just five games.
Harvin appears ready for one last go around, whether it be for one year or several years, but is hoping to make his next contract his “last stop”. Buffalo is said to have a standing offer waiting on the table, but Harvin may be wise to join a team closer to contending for a Super Bowl. Still just 27 years old, there is an argument to be made that a healthy Harvin hasn’t yet seen his best NFL season.
Durability is a huge concern, but Harvin’s talent is worth taking a risk on, especially if someone can get him for little guaranteed money. The big question, of course, is who could use him? Let’s take a look at five potential landing spots other than Buffalo:
Pittsburgh makes a lot of sense, as they have a very wide receiver-friendly vertical offense and need to replace suspended deep threat, Martavis Bryant. Bryant is gone for all of 2016 and to this point all that is set to replace him is the erratic Markus Wheaton and the unproven Sammie Coates. The Steelers could just as easily opt to draft a receiver or two, but signing Harvin on a discounted deal could give them that speed they’re losing and keep their offense from losing any of its potency.
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay struggled throughout 2015 due to a very lethargic offense – one that never fully got over losing star wide receiver Jordy Nelson to a knee injury. Nelson’s size and speed gave the Packers an option over the top and in the red-zone that without him they were never able to replicate. Nelson is due back in 2016, but James Jones is gone, Jeff Janis is still raw and Davante Adams failed in a larger role. Spicing up a position they formerly felt was their deepest suddenly could be a necessity. Harvin is a low risk/high reward signing if Ted Thompson can orchestrate a cheap deal.
New England Patriots
New England has long been searching for someone to take the top off of defenses ever since they parted ways with Randy Moss. They have an elite tight end and a nice collection of sure-handed receivers, but they still lack that explosive option that can burn defenses that play close to the line. Harvin is a shaky health risk and a headache personality, but he’s also potentially precisely the weapons the Pats need. Bill Belichick is known for taking on reclamation projects and seeing them thrive, so it could be a match made in football heaven.
Kelvin Benjamin missed all of last year and is no lock to be back to 100% in 2016. Even if he is, Carolina is otherwise sporting an aging Ted Ginn Jr., and that’s pretty much it. The Panthers are trying to make it back to the Super Bowl with very little offensive fire power, yet they actually were one of the best offenses in the league in 2015. To keep that trend going, they may want to consider adding some speed to the wide receiver position. Harvin would certainly fit the bill in that area.
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners are the only team on this list that wouldn’t look like the ideal situation. They have a new head coach in Chip Kelly, aren’t sure if they want to keep quarterback Colin Kaepernick and don’t appear close to even getting back into the playoffs. However, Kelly’s explosive offensive system could benefit Harvin’s skill-set greatly, and perhaps with Kap he could revive his career. It’s not overly likely with Harvin probably preferring to go to a good situation where he has a serious chance at winning something, but schematically it could be a perfect fit.
Buffalo is still a very good spot for Harvin, as he clicked early on with quarterback Tyrod Taylor and seems to be well liked by Rex Ryan and his Bills teammates. He makes good sense there, but with Buffalo no lock to make the playoffs, Harvin could be looking for greener pastures in 2016. If he picks one of the aforementioned franchises, he could end up being a huge asset and quickly put a more positive spin on what has been an up and down career.