@ZackMooreNFL’s Take on Harvin to the Jets


The Seahawks and Jets just rocked the football world with the rare in season trade as the Jets have just received Percy Harvin for a conditional pick. 

It seems like a strange move considering the Seahawks gave up a first, third and seventh rounder for him and they’re a team that highly values their draft picks, along with the fact that he’s one of the most explosive playmakers in football, but it also makes complete sense when you look at some of the numbers along with how the Seahawks are constructed. 

According to ESPN’s fantasy department, “Harvin only played 59.5 percent of Seattle’s snaps this year — nearly 30 percent less than both Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse — and Harvin doesn’t have the blocking skills a run-heavy offense like Seattle’s would ideally feature at receiver.” Considering that he’s also owed a non-guaranteed $41.5 million over the next four years, they must have decided that Paul Richardson was a better move for them financially. 

I think the writing was on the wall when they drafted Richardson with a second round pick last May, he’s the same kind of explosive playmaker, but he’s playing on a four year, $4.7 million deal, while Harvin is in the middle of a five year $64.2 million deal and playing less than 60% of the team’s snaps. They must feel that Richardson is ready to step into that role sooner than expected.

The fact that Harvin is one of the most injury prone players in the league must have also factored into this decision, on both ends as he is apparently only worth a mid-round pick which I think is a reflection of his injury history. We can all agree that he’s one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL and while I know he hasn’t performed very well this year, if a player like Antonio Brown or Emmanuel Sanders was traded mid-season in this way, they’d command much higher than a mid-round pick.

While I do think that Harvin is a difficult player to deal with as a team because of how much time he misses, the Jets are well equipped to handle him missing time with Jeremy Kerley. I think it’s a great move for the Jets, when you can get one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL for a mid-round pick and you have the salary cap space to do it, it’s a great move for your team, I just wish it came before they sank to 1-6 on the season. 

I think he’ll fit in well with what Rex Ryan does with his offense as well and what I like most about this move is the fact that after this season, they’ll know for sure if Geno Smith is the quarterback of the future. While I know the team hasn’t performed as well as an optimist would hope, they’ve got a lot of weapons around Geno Smith now. 

Pretend this isn’t the New York Jets and all the negativity that creeps into your mind just at the sight of their name in text, think of their skill players right now. The running backs are Chris Ivory with the power, Chris Johnson with speed, Bilal Powell as the number three after rushing for 697 yards last season. 

They’ve got Eric Decker on the outside finally healthy after a hamstring issue to start the season, a guy who had 2,352 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns in 2012 and 2013. Now, you’ve got Percy Harvin as your #2 guy which will open Decker up to more single coverage and freedom to make plays. I know we haven’t seen Harvin play 16 games since 2011, but at least he’s well rested, am I right?!?!?! 

In 2011 though, Harvin was one of the best players in the league with 87 catches, 967 yards receiving, 345 rushing and 8 offensive touchdowns. In 2012, he played 9 games and had 62 catches for 677 yards and 3 TDs, which over 16 games would give him 110 catches for 1,203 yards. 

There are some guys who are just too explosive for their own good almost, I’ve seen it at DeFranco’s Gym with guys like Michael Smith who was a 7th rounder in 2012 and a running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but just hasn’t been able to stay healthy during his time in the NFL. Harvin might be one of those guys, but with the right training and care, we could see him blossom in this new opportunity.

Let’s not forget that the Jets still have Jeremy Kerley who is a nice supplement to this offense, but shouldn’t be a focal point like he’s had to be at times this season. Falling back into a role more suited for him, we will see him benefit from this as well. Greg Salas and David Nelson are good role players in the 4th and 5th receiver spots, which is more suited for who they are as players right now. 

At tight end, I think the Jets have a future All-Pro type player in Jace Amaro, I love what he did at Texas Tech and he fits exactly what the Jets needed going into the draft, so I’m very happy to see the hometown green team making some savvy moves after the mockery that the last few years have been. Jeff Cumberland is a very good second tight end, so there’s another guy that the Jets have put in a better place to succeed through good decisions. 

One thing that I really like about the Seahawks is their open mindedness and ability to admit they made a mistake and rectify it. Considering the way the Seahawks manage their team, spending $64.2 million on an oft-injured, risky player like Harvin is outside of what they normally do, a mistake they already made with Sidney Rice. They saw an opportunity to rid themselves of a contract that wasn’t working out for them, you just don’t pay someone that kind of money to play 60% of your snaps. It’s not Harvin’s fault either, he just didn’t seem to be the right fit for that kind of money. 

The Seahawks are the kind of team that sends a brochure to agents of undrafted free agents to show them how they let the best players play no matter where they’re drafted. Simply put, they might just be the most well managed team in all of football right now, so they just cut costs with a player who wasn’t fitting in well anyway.

I see some people questioning this move considering that the Seahawks gave up three picks for Harvin to get him, but they just became so much more flexible heading into the future and they won a Super Bowl last season. Sure, Richardson might not be Harvin, but they must have decided that he is a good enough substitute after a cost-benefit analysis. They won a Super Bowl with Harvin playing one regular season game and the Super Bowl, they must have decided that getting rid of this contract was the right move.

Overall, I rate this as a great trade for both sides and I’m excited to see how the Jets use him. Dear Rex Ryan, don’t Tebow us with this one, I can feel the excitement of Jets fans bursting through my social media networks, don’t break their hearts my good man!


Onnit.com: Total Human Optimization 



Seahawks Trade Percy Harvin to the Jets


According to Jay Glazer the Seattle Seahawks have traded wide reciever Percy Harvin to the New York Jets for a mid round draft pick. In my opinion this is one of the rare actual “work out best for both sides” trades.

The Seahawks acquired Harvin via trade in 2013 from the Minnesota Vikings in what was a bit of a head scratcher. Seattle gave up their first round pick in 2013 and a mid round pick in 2014 for the rights to Harvin. Harvin had worn out his welcome in Minnesota due to his unhappiness with his contract following an injury filled season. The Seahawks would turn around and sign him to a $67 million, 6 year contract that contained $12.85 million per year in new money. The salary moved him, depending on how one valued it, into either the top 3 or top 5 at the position in salary despite never having a 1,000 yard season.

The Seahawks paid Harvin $14.5 million in 2013 to catch 1 pass for 17 yards in an injury filled regular season. Harvin would have two big runs and a kickoff return for a TD in the Super Bowl that year. Since the Jets played their game this week Harvin I believe will be paid by Seattle, leaving Seattle with a $4.5 million bill for 22 receptions for 133 yards. This will likely go down as one of the worst trades in NFL history.

Moving on from the contract and getting anything in return was good for the Seahawks. It seemed clear he did not fit in their offense and they had no idea if there was a way to utilize him. Seattle will now save $6.47 million in salary cap space and salary this year by trading him, money that can be rolled over to the 2015 season and used for the Wilson extension. Harvin will carry a $7.2 million dead money charge on the Seahawks 2015 salary cap, which represents another $5.7 million in freed up cap space, though it was likely they were releasing him next year anyway.

From the Jets perspective the team was devoid of talent and it was worth taking a risk on a player like Harvin. His ability in the short passing game should fit with what the Jets are currently running on offense and allow Eric Decker to see less help when he goes down the field.  In theory it can open up two layers of field if teams still have any fear of Harvin or he re-earns the fear of defensive coordinators.

The Jets had the lowest payroll in the NFL and one of the largest cap surpluses in the league. Harvin will eat up $6.47 million of the Jets cap room this year in what will amount to a half season audition to keep his contract. In 2015 Harvin will carry a $10.5 million salary and salary cap charge.  None of that money is guaranteed so if Harvin fails to perform the Jets can either release him or look to renegotiate the salary back down to a more reasonable price range that fits with his performance. Harvins total contract value over the next four seasons works out to $10.375 million per year so there are many ways to work within the contract to reduce the salary while keeping his value at a high level to keep any egos happy.


For the Jets there is no risk here. He is not displacing anyone of importance on the team. He can be released at any time. The Jets cap space was projected to be so high that there was likely no way they could spend all of it so even if he stays at his full price it does not make a material impact in any plans moving forward. The Jets also are in a position where thy will need to spend money just to meet the salary minimums in the CBA so this gives them a chance to see a player in uniform before commiting that money to him, which is always a plus. I would assume that this does mean Jeremy Kerley will not be back with the Jets next season.

Harvin will get to be one of the rare players in the NFL that will be paid for two bye weeks. The Seahawks already had their bye week while the Jets is still upcoming.

I’ll update Harvin’s contract to reflect the trade later tonight or early tomorrow morning. But for now you can view is old contract here 


Looking At a Possible Contract for Cowboys WR Dez Bryant


I wanted to take a look today at Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys, who is entering the final year of his contract and more or less proclaimed that he is a top five receiver in the NFL. I find Bryant a pretty intriguing contract negotiation since there are arguments that could be made on both sides for his salary and there are many potential risks and rewards associated with an early extension for Bryant.

The Salary Landscape

Here is the list of current top of the market players whose contracts were signed under the age of 30 (Bryant is 26 this season)

WR contracts

Bryant should have two goals in this negotiation. The first is to establish that he is far superior to the bottom four names on this list such that he, at the very least, begins a new salary tier for the position. The second is to argue that he should be paid alongside Johnson and Fitzgerald.

The Second Pay Tier

First I just want to look at base stats to quickly establish Bryant’s position among this group. Here is how Bryant’s three year performance stacks up against the average performance of the four players who make under $13 million a season.

Bryant Performance

n terms of total usage, Bryant laps the field. He ranks first in games, receptions, yards, and touchdowns. However he ranks below average when we start looking at his performance per play where his yards per reception and yards per target both lag the field.  Does that really matter though when working on a contract for a player with the physical abilities as Bryant?  Probably not.

The Top Tier

The reason I stated above that the per play type data likely has limited effect on a contract is when you look at the three year numbers of Johnson and Fitzgerald, at the times they signed their contracts, to the average of the four second tier players and add them to the chart you get the following:

top tier performance

Those other players were unable to attain the salary levels of the big two despite the barely average or below average performances in those yards per reception and per target type categories. But Johnson and Fitzgerald were, much like Bryant, considered physical marvels at the position and not interchangeable pieces. The overall usage numbers indicate dominant and durable players at the position and they were thus paid accordingly.

Looking at it this way I think we can definitely make the argument that Bryant, among the group of current veteran contracts, is worthy of being no worse than the third paid player at the position. Getting him above $16 million a season, however, may not be easy.

His greatest asset is the ability to find the end zone. He has more touchdowns over this three year period than the other two did. He also is catching more passes that come his way, though he has played with the better QB over a three year stretch as well. On a per game basis he only slightly trails Johnson at 0.733 to 0.723 touchdowns per game. He is neck and neck with Johnson in receptions as well. His receptions are well behind Fitzgerald’s.

The major negative on Bryant being considered on par with these two players is his usage stats. The next time you see a Bryant outburst on the sideline about getting him the ball (however one wants to spin it) think about the fact that he gets one less target a game than Johnson and 1.5 less than Fitzgerald. That one added target would basically have put him on par with Johnson for yards and Fitzgerald for receptions. At that point you can make the case that he could warrant the largest contract at the position.

The fact that Dallas’ offense has so many passing options through the years has hurt Bryant. Loosely adjusted for games played, Bryant is responsible for about 22.5% of his teams’ targets. Johnson was at 24.4% and Fitzgerald 26.9%. Among the first and second tier, his team usage ranks just 5th, just ahead of Wallace and Jackson (Harvin and Bowe both benefitted from being on poor teams with limited alternatives).

It’s the one area of statistical dominance that he can not claim right now and it is doubtful that will change. There are a few arguments that he can bring to the discussion regarding that. One is that he is the only one of the two players to play with a dominant tight end in Jason Witten. Jackson had a similar situation with Antonio Gates in San Diego. When it comes to actual attention among wide receivers on the Cowboys, Bryant’s numbers are more impressive.

Secondly I think it would be worth bringing up the fact that Witten is 32 years old and may not have as many seasons left as a dominant player. Once that happens the fact is Bryant can pick up the slack and get those dominant numbers that compare with Johnson and Fitzgerald.

Finally, Bryant is just 26 years old and has years of exceptional football ahead of him. Unlike many other players you are not going to pay for non-results on the backend of a contract, but will get a dominant player for at least four years if not more.

Where Should His Salary Fit

Based on the fact that this is the Dallas Cowboys, who have gone above and beyond for certain players, I think Bryant should have a compelling case to come in very close to those top two players. Can he reach $16 million?  I don’t think that is a possibility. Both Johnson and Fitzgerald had their teams over a barrel in regards to salary cap charges and contract structures which helped get them the deals they received. Bryant is by no means an albatross on the Cowboys salary cap right now and Dallas is probably fluid enough with the cap to be able to threaten back to back franchise tags, which would leave him somewhere between $28 and $29 million in earnings over a two year period..

I think the challenge here should come with designing the 1A tier that is lacking. How much above the second tier average of $11.79 million makes Bryant happy while also being acceptable to the Cowboys? I would think the range here would be $14.7 to $15.3 million a season. I think there is also a point to be made here that Johnson’ five year contract value works out to $15.6 million a season, so coming in close to $15 million is really not that far off from true top of the market pricing.

In terms of years I think the deal has to be similar to the big two at 7 years. That is necessary for salary cap flexibility and can also give Bryant the important distinction of having a $100 million contract. If the $100 million number is a big deal they may be able to push the annual value down to the $14.3 million level, but I’m just guessing as to that being a big benchmark for Bryant. It might not be and they may be more interested in hitting $15 million a year as a benchmark.

Cash flows of the contract will be an important issue. Johnson received $45.75 million over the first three years of his contract. Harvin will receive $43.145 million.  Harvin also could have been threatened with multiple franchise tags and that had no bearing on his extension numbers. I think Bryant needs to come in between both players and I don’t feel that it would be acceptable to him to receive the $37 million total that went Wallace unless that number was fully guaranteed from day one. Both Harvin and Johnson present better comparisons as well because they both had one year remaining under contract when extensions were signed.

Here is the breakdown of how the Harvin and Johnson yearly annual values work out over the first five years of their contract:

yearly salary

There are a couple of interesting things to note here. One is the structure of the deals. Harvin’s is a pure waterfall style contract that starts high and continues to come down. Johnsons follows a unique pattern in that the APY falls and then rises again in a u-shape.  That is very uncommon, but marked the importance for Johnson to eventually get to a final annual value of over $16 million while the Lions were likely stuck working in the $15.5 million range. This is the compromise and the type of structure I would suggest for Bryant as well, except $15 million being his maximum value. The other interesting point is how close the two year values on the contract are. Basically Harvin and Johnson should set the parameters for the first three years of payments pretty easily.

The other thing that stands out is just how strong the Harvin contract was in terms of cash flows. Harvin’s three year annual value was nearly a 1.12 multiple of the five year value. Most other players are in the ballpark of 1. The tradeoff for Harvin was the low guarantee compared to the others at the position. Harvin received just $14.5 million in full guarantees with a maximum guarantee of $25.5 million. Wallace received $27 million fully guaranteed upon signing and $30 million in total guarantees. Johnson received nearly $49 million in fully guaranteed salary. Each of these numbers is important, but the Harvin model should be paid attention to if Bryant’s camp would not agree to a “reasonable” contract and Dallas felt compelled to keep him at a higher number.

Based on the structures of the contracts I would suggest a cash flow to be somewhat along these lines for Bryant, assuming our seven year value ends up around $15 million, which again I think is the maximum he will get.

Bryant Cash Flow

How might we structure such a deal?  Right now Dallas has around $10 million in cap space in 2014 following the $5.5 million in cap savings that they earned from Miles Austin coming off the books. They still have to sign their first two draft picks which will result in a net loss of cap room of about $1.6 million. Assuming that they have no other major signings to make this year they should be able to afford to increase Bryant’s cap charge by $4 million and still get by for the season.

In 2015 Dallas has $138 million currently on the cap, but that includes charges for Doug Free and Kyle Orton, both of whom will have their contracts void, creating another $9 million in cap space. Henry Melton has a $9.25 million cap charge which would never occur. He would either be released or restructured for added cap space. In 2016 the team can begin to turn over the roster without devastating salary cap issues. My goal is to keep the cap charges moderate enough to where I don’t feel forced to restructure the contract in 2015 or 2016.

I think a very fair offer is a $20 million signing bonus with no other change to Bryant’s 2014 salary. That would bump his compensation this year to $22.03 million which actually exceeds Johnson’s salary in his extension year.  Dallas can go lower than that and have it still be acceptable but for salary cap purposes I’d rather give the big bonus and work on a payment schedule that the team will find adequate for cash purposes.  The initial guarantee would consist of the signing bonus, 2014 and 2015 base salaries and half of the 2016 salary. I’d give an injury guarantee on the other half of the 2016 salary and $10 million of his 2017 salary with the opportunity to earn a full guarantee if on the roster in March of those respective years. That works out to a full guarantee of $31.405 million and injury guarantee of $45.03 million.

Bryant cap Chart

I like this structure because it gives me Bryant at reasonable cap figures for the next three years that should not be difficult to handle under the current roster makeup. If I absolutely have to I can take money in 2015 or 2016 and prorate it, but I should not have to here.  Bryant will turn 30 in 2018 and I would have a good deal of leverage to bring his numbers down if he was no longer an elite receiver at that stage. If he was still a terrific receiver I have plenty of years to prorate money into and work out more reasonable numbers.

Those numbers seem large, but I would not be that worried in the event he was dominant. In this structure his plus 30 years (2018 to 2021) would amount to $60.6 million in non-guaranteed compensation. Brandon Marshall, who would be the elite standard bearer for the plus 30 extension, will earn $39.3 million over a 4 year period.  Assuming $7 million a year in cap growth, Marshall’s contract uses up around 6.8% of the total cap room. If the cap grows at the same figure then it’s about 8.8% for Bryant.  That’s certainly higher but it is not crippling.

Potential Risk of Not Signing

Outside of injury risk, which exists for every player in the NFL, there are two unique circumstances that might pertain to Bryant which could impact a contract offer made in 2015.  The first deals with his quarterback, Tony Romo. Romo has now undergone two back surgeries in the last two years and I think there are some legitimate questions about his health this season. With Orton claiming he will retire from the NFL that would leave Bryant catching passes from the likes of Brandon Weeden. That can crush his statistical production and bring questions up as to how QB dependent Bryant may be.

The other risk lies with the position where three big time receivers will also be up for possible extensions during this year. Those players are AJ Green, Julio Jones, and Demaryius Thomas. Here is how this group matches up in some of the major receiving categories.

extension class

There should be no argument that Green is the superior receiver. The case is going to be made that he is superior to Johnson and Fitzgerald at the times they signed their deals and it is a solid case. The only place where he lacks is touchdowns. The other two players you can make a case for as being somewhat equal to Bryant, depending on how much you believe that the players will remain healthy.  Thomas is probably most similar in terms of offensive importance and potential QB dependence.

Now there is nothing wrong with dropping from 3rd to 4th or 5th best, but the danger comes in the contract possibilities. Right now the market is set in stone with overpaid players like Wallace and Harvin and the big two on top. Dallas has always been very fair with their players within the existing frameworks of contracts at a position. The same can not be said of the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals who seem to be much more difficult to deal with on big contracts.

If Bryant plays things out and those two players decide to sign extensions with their respective teams (Jones would be less of a risk to sign a monster deal off injury) it could change the landscape of the WR market and solidify the Johnson and Fitzgerald deals as unattainable outliers. If, for example, Green signs for $13.3 million a season, Bryant has almost no leg to stand on when asking for the moon. At that point it’s about getting a little more than Harvin with strong up front guarantees. Any of these players coming in low in dollars more or less signals that both the club reps and the player agents agree the Wallace, Harvin, and Bowe deals are all invalid and carry the asterisk that nobody would have close to matching those contracts. It also further solidifies the top two being unattainable.

Of course it can work the other way as well. If Jones or Thomas signed in the $14 million plus range it makes getting $15 million an easier task. If Green somehow was to surpass the Johnson contract Bryant should be able to push even higher than $15 million as it redefines the WR market and validates the contracts at the top and second tiers. I find this scenario less likely, but it could be a consideration.

Bryant also has the ability to explode this year and take the leap into the next level when it comes to production. If he opts to play things out and does something like the 1,700 yard type season Johnson put up in 2011 when he earned the monster extension than Bryant can increase his asking price. That should also give him a year that surpasses anything Green does if Green gets an extension.

These are all considerations that both sides need to take into account if they open negotiations over the next few months.

The Final Verdict

I think both sides will benefit in the long run by trying to do a contract now rather than waiting. I think it benefits the Cowboys on the salary cap and locks up Bryant pretty much for his career.  Bryant does deserve recognition as one of the top few players in the NFL at the position and should be paid accordingly.  For all of the negatives we hear about Bryant I don’t think it has ever impacted his play nor does he give off the vibe that he is a take the money and run player, cruising through the next two or three seasons and collecting a paycheck. It will definitely be a fun situation to keep an eye on and one that maybe will start to play out over the summer.




Percy Harvin Requires Surgery


Percy Harvin himself broke the news that he would need surgery to repair a hip injury, leaving the Seahawks one WR short for a majority of the season. In some ways it is lucky that Harvin suffered an injury before camp began. Because Harvin had yet to pass a physical with the team he landed on the Physically Unable to Perform list. The Seahawks can stash him on PUP until late in the season and then activate him at a later date, which I believe is sometime in late November under the new NFL rules. This frees up short term IR designation for a player who is injured during training camp or early in the season.

From a salary cap perspective the move is not devastating to the Seahawks. Harvin, who signed a large extension this offseason, was only going to count for $4.9 million against the salary cap this season, so Seattle had not built their financial structure strictly around him. However the injury should now make Sidney Rice, whose $9.7 million dollar cap charge could have made him expendable or at least forced into a paycut, 100% safe to play out the year at his current cap charge. The injury should also open the door for Golden Tate to see more looks in the offense.

The cap and contractual situations of these players should be beneficial to the Seahawks. Seattle already made it known that they were committing financially to Harvin, meaning the other two would likely not have futures in Seattle. Rice knows his cap charges will most likely see him cut after the year while Tate is in the final year of his contract. Even TE Zach Miller, another overpaid target in the offense whose contract will most likely be terminated following the season, should help fill the void. Players looking for new contracts have every incentive to outperform expectations and show up ready to go so that may bode well for Seattle.

Unfortunately for Seattle they had structured Harvin’s contract to have this as his “bargain” year before the salary cap charges would spike well into the double digits. Though he may still play this year, the injury likely ruins whatever visions they had from a roster management standpoint for the short term. Next season Harvin’s cap charge will rise to $13.4 million.

The injury to Harvin shows why teams are often so hesitant to extend players early. While we all focus on the player perspective, such as Jeremy Maclin’s whose ACL injury may have cost him millions, Harvin is going to be exhibit A as to why teams do not overpay early for players. Harvin, who has only played 16 games once in his career and finished last season on IR, was given a top of the market contract extension following a trade in which the Seahawks gave up a 1st round pick for Harvin. You can bet that other GM’s around the NFL will look at this when considering offers made to their own free agents and factor in the injury possibility as reason for offering lower price points to their players. Both sides need protection from the injury, the players via guarantees and the team via a “sticker price discount” for taking some of the injury risk away from the player. Seattle got neither.

Essentially Seattle treated Harvin as if he was a Restricted Free Agent with a 1st round tender. Most players, such as the Giants Victor Cruz, would not even get a sniff from another team with such a high price tag. Seattle went all in on the player, including $14.5 million in cash  obligations alone just for the 2013 season. It was a risky deal and they will probably not gain much benefit at all from him in 2013.

Seattle has so much invested in Harvin that they also need to be careful not to rush him back and risk further injury. Harvin has $11 million dollars in 2014 already guaranteed for injury. The guarantee vests to a fully guaranteed salary a few days after the Super Bowl. The last thing they want is to have a much larger cap charge on IR next season because they tried to get him back sooner rather than later. Seattle was fine without Harvin last year and their cap structure isn’t hurt by the injury. His being injured next year would be much more crippling to the financial structure of the team.

View Percy Harvin’s Salary Cap Page



A Look at the Slot Receiver


This was an interesting week for the slot receiver. You had the Seahawks pay a massive price for Percy Harvin while the prolific, but much older, Wes Welker had trouble finding a job.  Meanwhile Welker was replaced by the younger Danny Amendola while Victor Cruz twists in the wind hoping someone will bite despite his restricted free agent status. So I figured why not go ahead and take a closer look at these players, Cruz’ contract, and examine the Amendola for Welker swap that has agitated a number of New England fans and made countless others scratch their head at the move.

Slot Performance

To start with I wanted to examine each players stats when they line up in the slot. For Harvin and Welker these are 3 year averages while for Cruz and Amendola it is just 2. The NFL averages are a 3 year average for all players with at least 25% slot targets as reported by Pro Football Focus.


Out of the group Amendola lined up in the slot an incredible 82.9% of the time. The league average for slot players with at least 25% of snaps in the slot was around 55% so he has almost no use anywhere else on the field. That was far higher than Welker’s 74.4% of the snaps. In terms of targeting there was little difference. Amendola saw the ball come his way slightly over 28% of the time he lined up in the slot, which is slightly higher than Welker at 26.4%. Harvin was the lowest at 25.2%. 19% of the time the slot guy gets the football.

The catch and drop rates, which kind of go hand in hand, in the slot are the first signs of some differences. Harvin had the best catch and lowest drop rate of the group. Amendola and Welker had nearly identical catch rates but the drop rate for Welker is much higher than average and far higher than Amendola’s. Part of the reason the catch rate for Welker is so good is because of Brady. I could see that being a factor in the replacement as there could be a feeling that Amendola will have a catch rate well above Welker’s in this offense. Cruz is around average in catches and well below average in drops. He does run deeper patterns however.


I think these are the categories that upset the New England fan about losing Welker. Amendola’s actual production once he catches the ball is terrible. He is below the league average in both YPC and YPT. The excuse of Sam Bradford only goes so far.  For the Patriots to consider him a replacement they are making the leap of faith that Bradford is the only reason his production when catching the ball was so bad.  Interestingly enough three players were all below the league average in YPC. Victor Cruz is in his own universe as a slot player. Now the Giants play their offense different than other teams but the production is outrageous. If you are going to run a down the field attack offense he is the guy you need. As a possession receiver I think you can make a strong argument for both Harvin and Welker.

Outside Performance

Can these players bring anything outside of the slot?  Lets look.


When lining up outside Amendola has the lowest percent of passes caught though in this case the QB he was working with likely makes more of a difference since these are most likely more difficult passes. Both he and Harvin has big drops in their catch efficiency- 11.1% for Amendola and 7.0% for Harvin- compared to the other two. Cruz actually caught a slightly higher percent of passes when lining up outside than he did in the slot. Welker’s drop rate of 11.7% would be alarming.


This was the one area where Harvin stood out with a higher effectiveness in both YPT and YPC when lining up outside. He is the player who lines up on the outside the most and the numbers give reason to play that way. He is a more effective player on the outside and the Seahawks must be banking on him playing there more often and putting up far better numbers with a better QB. Welker and Amendola would both be a notch below, though the two were similar in effectiveness.

Who Would You Choose And At What Price?

Not taking age into account it is hard to see a real clear reason why the Patriots would take an often injured Amendola over Welker. Even when you factor in age the Patriots are a win now team not a win in 3 years team. Amendola is probably going to be less effective on the outside than Welker and its hard to see Brady having such an incredible effect that his yards in the slot would skyrocket up. The one thing that New England may have taken into account is the high number of drops from Welker. He had the famous one in the Super Bowl and while that was not a great pass it was one a great receiver should make. If the Patriots think they are getting somebody more versatile than Welker I don’t see any justification for that line of thinking. That being said I think the numbers do paint a pretty clear picture of why many said Welker is a system receiver that would be much more pedestrian outside of New England.

Of this grouping Cruz is the best receiver and it is by a wide margin. It makes the negotiations interesting for him and the Giants. Harvin’s new money is more than $12.5 million year and he received that in exactly the same contractual situation as Cruz, with his rights held up at under $3 million a season.  Prior to that contract I would have assumed that the Giants and Cruz would be working off the base of someone like Marques Colston and determining a value over his $7.25 million a year deal, likely settling between $9 and 10. Harvin’s deal changes everything and gives Cruz a reason to at least seek $13 million a year.

While there is a clear market correction going on around the NFL, most likely because of the ultra high investments in a team QB, Wide Receiver has not been impacted. If anything it has gotten stronger with the deals given to Harvin, Mike Wallace, and Dwayne Bowe. I don’t think Cruz can convince the Giants that he deserves that money now. The Steelers held firm on Wallace last season and Cruz has only had two years in the NFL of note. They will want to see a third. My guess is they will also argue that Harvin is an outlier and to just eliminate the deal from the equation.

In many ways I can see Cruz’ future being tied in with Harvins. If Harvin plays well this season lining up mainly in the slot there will be a number of teams that jump of Cruz as a UFA next season, assuming Cruz has another 1000+ yard season. The NFL is a copycat league and if they see a trend heading that way teams will jump on it. If Harvin does not play well that will be justification for not over-spending on Cruz and tie him in with the rest of the slot market.


Thoughts on the Percy Harvin Contract


Thanks to Mike Florio and Pro Football Talk we already have the breakdown of the Percy Harvin contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Per Florio the deal contains $14.5 million in fully guaranteed money another $11 million that is virtually guaranteed. Harvin will earn $36 million in the first three years.

So keeping those figures in mind we can get a better idea of this deal. First of all I think a trade such as this one is a terrible trade for the Seahawks. To trade so many picks for a slot WR who doubles as a kick returner is just foolish and then compounded a hundred times by paying him like he is one notch below Calvin Johnson.  I think Seattle gets a pass for all of their transaction activity these last few years because they play in a small market. The Jets had a label for being trigger happy and running their organization like a Fantasy Football team since Rex Ryan came  to town. The Seahawks make the Jets look like the Steelers. They have their fair share of bad signings but most of it is hidden because they do have a stellar defense and they nabbed a QB in the 3rd round last year that was a complete game changer. Take Russell Wilson out of the equation and this move would be considered one of the worst of all time. But with Wilson in place its looked at as a final piece to a puzzle, which is alot of pressure to now put on a second year QB who will now face teams that have had an entire offseason gameplanning him.

I have calculated the new money in the deal to be equal to $64,245,000 which works out to be $12.849 million a year, a ridiculous figure for a player who has yet to reach 1000 yards in a season and sees most of his receptions come close to the line of scrimmage. All that being said the contract itself is a bit more reasonable that its face value.

Upon signing Harvin has $14.5 million in guarantees, all of which will be paid in what is technically the final year of his rookie contract. If things implode Harvin can be released as soon as the waiver period begins. While  that would lead to a dead money charge of $9.6 million it would represent a savings in cap of  $3.8 million. By comparison Vincent Jackson had a full guarantee of $26 million while Dwayne Bowe collects $16 million in the first year of his contract and has another $9 million that is protected by a dead money charge of $16.25 million that exceeds his $12 million dollar cap charge. So Harvin could in theory by a very expensive 1 year rental while the others are certain to be on the team in the second year of the deal.

All three players have similar two year payouts- Bowe will receive $25 million, Harvin $25.5 million and Jackson $26 million. The third year is where things gets more interesting and show the built in protection the Seahawks have with the contract. In 2015 Harvin will carry a cap charge of $12.9 million. Releasing Harvin saves the team $5.7 million in cap and $10.5 million in cash. He has no guarantees in his contract and it sets the stage for a renegotiation if the player fails to live up to the salary cap numbers. This is exactly what happened to Santonio Holmes of the Jets today and should have happened to Miles Austin in Dallas had the Cowboys not screwed that contract up so badly.  The $7.2 million dead number is similar to that of Jackson making that 3rd year harder to attain. Bowe has more protection with a $9 million dead money cost and what will likely be a small guarantee of base salary. The 4th year of Harvin’s contract most likely has no chance of being earned unless he far exceeds expectations and the WR market continues to grow. He will count for $12.3 million in cap space with only $4.8 million in dead money, This is nearly identical to Jackson’s contractual structure. Bowe has slightly more protection through the signing bonus mechanism, though not enough to guarantee anything.

So the bottom line is that despite the numbers for Harvin being significantly higher the real contract is going to be 3 years for $36 million, identical to Bowe and Jackson. Those two have slightly stronger contract, specifically Bowe, but all three are in the same range. So while Harvin’s deal sounds excessive compared to the market its really right in line with the marketplace if you buy Harvin as a dominant player. I don’t but he will get every opportunity to prove people like me wrong.

View Percy Harvin’s Cap Figures

View Percy Harvin’s Cash Flows


Recapping Todays NFC Salary Cap News


Today was quite the day of activity as teams look to gain as much cap space as possible before the beginning of free agency tomorrow. I am going to break things down by conference in two posts to keep things from getting too long. As for the salary cap charts please note that I will be doing my best to keep them updated and current over the next week but I’ll be playing catchup on some days so bear with me on it. Also the league has made more adjustments to the cap that I am unaware of for most teams so if you have any information please email me.

Dallas Cowboys– The cap disaster that is the Cowboys did make their way under the cap today with more restructures and the release of LB Dan Connor. The release of Connor saved the team $3 million. Dallas’ decision to restructure the contract of 32 year old Jay Ratliff is probably one of the worst decisions of the season, showing the severity of the Cowboys cap and their mishandling of the situation. Most of the offseason Dallas management complained about Ratliff an Ratliff had all kinds of problems both on and off the field. While I don’t know the exact specifics yet this will more or less assure Ratliff of a roster spot in 2014 whose dead money will now be over $5 million.

Washington Redskins– The Redskins released CB DeAngelo Hall creating $8 million in cap room in the process.   Hall had been at the center of the cap penalties against the Redskins when they used void clauses to accelerate all the prorated money from his 6 year, $54 million dollar contract into the uncapped season. His release at least offsets some of that.  The Redskins also reworked the contract of always injured Adam Carriker and placed some incentives into the deal to help reduce his cap hit but give him the chance to earn back money by remaining on the field.

Minnesota Vikings– The Vikings got the heist of the century when they traded disgruntled WR Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks for a 1st round pick plus some mid round selections. To get that kind of price for a player that is essentially no different than a Restricted Free Agent is unheard of. The Vikings will save $2,782,500 in cap with Harvin’s trade.

Arizona Cardinals- The Cardinals released RB Beanie Wells clearing $1,457,500 in cap room.

San Francisco 49’ers– The 49’ers traded a late round pick for Anquan Boldin from the Ravens. The 49’ers will take on Boldin’s $6 million dollar salary and cap charge. Boldin who works the sidelines well and is a good blocker should be a fit in the style of offense that the 49’ers run. If the trade goes through I would think it would spell the end of Mario Manningham as a 49’erReleasing Manningham would free up close to $4 million in cap almost offsetting the acquisition of Boldin.

Seattle Seahawks– This was the team on the other end of the Harvin deal which has really left me scratching my head. Supposedly the Seahawks are about to lock him up for upwards of $12 million a year which is an absolute market changer. Harvin is a slot receiver who primarily catches short little passes.  Harvin has never had a 1000 yard season or a double digit TD season. I know some will argue that he is a triple threat (receiving, running, and returns) but it’s just wasted money, IMO.  They already had a good return player in Leon Washington who will likely be released now and for the most part players don’t return once they are established as offensive weapons. Seattle was a terrific team last year and probably would have won the Super Bowl if they escaped Atlanta and maybe this puts them over the top, but this reeks of a move that will be a contract albatross 2 or 3 years down the line.As a Jets fan I sure wish the Seahawks needed a disgruntled cornerback.