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


  • gasolinesnuggie

    “small market”? Riiiiight. And do you understand the point of all the transaction activity? It’s been to rebuild the team. They’ve done that. The transactions have settled down. Also, do you understand context? “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” – Christian Ponder can explain that. Look at some Favre tape to see Harvin down the field.

    • Harvin with Favre was used between 65 and 70% of the time under 10 yards. Its only slightly higher with Ponder. I am also trying to talk on a contractual level. Usually you have to show more than what Harvin has shown to get that type of contract. It has nothing to do with him being a Seahawk. I just think its a overpricing for the player based on what he has accomplished and the position he plays.

      • gasolinesnuggie

        His average target depth was 9.9 yards past the line of scrimmage in 2009. It was 4.1 yards past the line this past season (that’s your definition of “only slightly higher”????), and yet he was still on pace to get 110 catches and 1200 yards (keep in mind, he does other stuff besides catch the ball) until he was injured and subsequently shut down. He’s a dynamic WR and KR, as well as a unique backfield player. “Usually you have to show more than what Harvin has shown to get that type of contract” – really??? Show me a track record of 24-year-old players with Harvin’s track record becoming available.

      • gasolinesnuggie

        Rank WR YAC

        1 Wes Welker 2,525
        2 Percy Harvin 1,859
        3 Calvin Johnson 1,682
        4 Andre Johnson 1,569
        5 Miles Austin 1,530
        6 Reggie Wayne 1,490
        7 Roddy White 1,485
        8 Michael Crabtree 1,449
        9 Brandon Marshall 1,425
        10 Santana Moss 1,319

        /end discussion

        • I would never look blindly at a stat like that without context. You are talking about a player catching short passes. Of course he is going to get a good YAC. Its never been valued the same as pure production. To justify the type of salary he is going to get you need to be a player that gets upwards of 40% of the WR targets (I would think he will get that) and average a pretty high YPC (I dont think hes ever been over 12). Im not going to dispute that he is a good player because he is. I just look at the WR market and I see him as being 9-10 million dollar good rather than 11-12.

          Anyway glad you like the site and the database.

          • gasolinesnuggie

            Actually, he averaged over 13 yards per reception in 2009, as a rookie, with Favre. The point about the YAC is he has still been a dynamic playmaker, even with some of the worst QBs in the league – for 3 out of his 4 seasons. That says a lot about his value. Just look at the other names on that list – YAC is part of “pure production”. In Seattle, he’ll be targeted further downfield by an actual QB (sorry Ponder) in addition to his short-yardage-reception-YAC plays and backfield brilliance.

          • gasolinesnuggie

            We should both differ to the one and only Greg Cossell “It seems health is big issue tonight with Harvin + Amendola. A healthy Harvin is most position versatile player in NFL. Matchup nightmare.

            — Greg Cosell (@gregcosell)”

          • Allan B

            If Cosell said that, then the Seahawks are screwed.
            Guy is clueless.
            He watches hours of film but clearly doesn’t understand it.

        • briwas101

          End discussion?

          In 2013 harvin has 1 catch for 17 yards.


  • “Take Russell Wilson out of the equation and this move would be considered one of the worst of all time.”

    Why the hell would you take Russell Wilson out of the equation? He’s the reason they could make the trade. This piece is idiotic at best. Stick to crunching numbers.

  • Babaganoush

    Uhhh…why would you take Russell Wilson out of the equation when he’s part of the equation? Makes no sense. What a stupid article.

  • Thor

    Calling Harvin a “slot WR who doubles as a kick returner” is a pretty big misrepresentation of the man as a player. And why do you initially say that this deal is horrible for the Seahawks but then say it is “really right in line with the marketplace”? You retarded bro?

    • Maybe I should clarify. The deal itself is going to be publicized as a market breaker worth nearly $13 million a year. Its not. The cash payment structure is in line with the market as a whole. The Seahawks didnt just throw a huge figure out there to make the market worth more than it should be like the way Dallas threw huge money at Miles Austin.

      From a trade perspective for this particular player I think its bad. He doenst have the track record to warrant this type of contract and the draft price payment is steep. They should have been able to get a better deal on both ends, IMO.

      • Draft picks are heavily inflated for a number of reasons, foremost of which is the fact that teams without a franchise QB tend to overvalue them in order to spin the wheel and see if they get lucky. Considering Harvin is the same age as Russell Wilson, thinking of the trade as giving the Vikings a 7th this year and a midround next year and then spending the first round pick on one of the best young WRs in the league sure makes it seem pretty favorable (considering Harvin was basically carrying the Vikings offense for the first half of last season and generates an absurd amount of yardage out of what should be 2 yard bubble screens and I have problems believing anything that says he’s not good). Add in the fact that the Hawks have a lot of cap availability this season, less than a million dollars of dead money on the books, and are paying Wilson under 500k a year through 2015 and the deal seems perfectly serviceable, especially because Harvin gets paid immediately before the front office has to pay out the nose for the insane rookies that got drafted in 2009 and 2010.

        On the other hand, *huffs a huge hit of glue* the seahakws have spent alot of money on a BAD RECEIVER and if you don’t think about their top-10 in league by dvoa QB who costs them a half million a year iy’s a really bad trade! they don’t even have a qb who’s gonna throw him the ball marshaywn lyanch?!?!? durrr durrr durrrrrrrrrrrrrrr durr durrrrrrrr *poops in hand, throws at wall*

        • briwas101

          The percy harvin trade/contract was the worst move IN THE ENTIRE NFL LAST OFFSEASON.

          The hawks HAD cap space, but they wasted it on Harvin.

          Now do you understand why it is STUPID to give away all those draft picks and all that money to a player you dont even need and who can’t stay healthy?

          This will probably end up being one of the 3 worst moves in NFL history.

          The hawks DID NOT NEED TO MAKE THE TRADE.


          They went ahead with it anyway and its a total disaster.

  • Beerbarian

    This guy is a dolt. The Seahawks have drafted well, traded well, and hit in free agency. They had the worst roster in football when Pete Carroll and Schneider came in to the organization, so they churned for 2 years had hundreds of transactions and have built a roster that can dominate in less then 4 years. They did so also saving a ton of capital. So now that they have the foundation set they can go and grab a bona fide star in the NFL. This guy is either blind of just a hater, either way he is flat out wrong about both the trade and the state of the Seahawks.

    • Nowhere did I say the Seahawks were a bad team. I think they were the best in the NFL last season actually. I just do not think its dollars well spent and there is no guarantee in the NFL that you get back to where you were the year before.

    • briwas101

      The writer ended up being 100% correct.

      The hawks gave up a bunch of draft picks and gave a huge contract to a guy that didnt deserve it.

      Percy Harvin is really doing well on the bench, isnt he?

    • briwas101

      You are not quite right when you say “hit in free agency”.

      The LOW PRICED free agents have worked out, and the 1 year deals have worked out, but the BIG FREE AGENT CONTRACTS have been bad.

      Sidney Rice was paid TRIPLE what he deserved (sucked with Hawks and injury-prone).

      Zach Miller was paid between 40 and 50% more than he has been worth. Miller has mostly been a blocking TE and blocking TEs are only cost $1million per year. Based on the catches/yards/TDs and his blocking he has been worth $6million per year. Worth 6, paid 10.

      Percy harvin was not a FA but we basically gave him a huge FA contract and it has been a disaster.

      The Hawks have done a good job with many things, but they have SUCKED at giving out huge contracts to the RIGHT PEOPLE.

  • By the way, “alot” isn’t a word. Write much?

  • Here we go again. Hey Seahawk fans remember these; Lynch is a bad guy, Rice is always injured , Carroll is just a college coach, Browner Sherman and Kam are too tall, Earl Thomas is too small , Russell Wilson is too short. And all those “reaches” in the draft. The Harvin move took guts but that’s what our guys have. That’s why they went from hard to watch to Superbowl contenders in just three years. GO SEAHAWKS!!!

    • The part that you wrote about having guts is what sums the trade up. Its a gutsy move. At that salary and that trade cost its the type of trade you could stake a career on. Now they built in some contractual protection so it should not become an albatross but its a trade I think few teams would have made at those prices. Definitely a gutsy move to stick your neck out there for Harvin.

      • gasolinesnuggie

        This is won’t you don’t understand. It’s not a career-staking move. It’s a luxury. The Seahawks already have a top 5 offense, defense, and special teams. The Seahawks already have one of the youngest teams in the league. And the Seahawks definitely had the cap space to make this sort of deal.

        While you are over here saying it’s a gutsy move, PC and JS are having just another day at the office.

        • briwas101

          How is that “luxury” move working out?

          Harvin has played 1 game and has one catch for 17 yards.

          Idiots like you think it is okay to THROW MONEY AWAY just because we had cap space.

          Throwing money around because they have cap space has been the downfall of almost every good team in the last decade.

          You start with a good team, you add a HUGE CONTRACT for a player who sucks or gets injured, and then you start losing good players because you gave away that big contract.

          The seahawks HAD cap space, NOW THEY DON’T.

          Our cap space got eaten up, not by a player who is helping us win, but by a player sitting on the bench (I am a lifelong seahawks fan from kirkland btw).

          It is NEVER smart to waste salary cap JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE SPACE!!!

          Do you toss $100 bills in the garbage just because you have more money in the bank? OF COURSE NOT.

          Just because you can technically afford to throw money away DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD THROW MONEY AWAY.

          • gasolinesnuggie

            look at you getting so mad. did harvin fuck your mom? go suck a dick

          • briwas101

            Notice how you couldn’t refute a single thing I said?

            You know I am right and that you are wrong, so you resorted to childish insults.

            At least I explain WHY someone is an idiot when I call them one.

            Percy harvin had ALREADY shown that he is an injury bust when he was with the vikings.

            The hawks gave him $11m per year and idiots like you assumed he would suddenly stay healthy.

            Guess what will happen next year? Pretty much the same thing. He will spend more time in street clothes than he will in a uniform.

            Percy Harvin isnt even worth $1million and yet the Hawks are paying him $11m.

            You look like a total fool now. Next time try not to be so stupid.

    • Allan B

      Yeah, yeah, yeah.
      The Seahawks are a great team.
      Look how many titles they got….

    • briwas101

      Hows the harvin deal working out?

      He’s being paid almost $1million PER YARD.



  • This article is barely literate, contains no critical thinking and is generally a very poor analysis of a trade that is regarded as at minimum a win-win for the Vikings and Seahawks and realistically is probably a huge win for the Seahawks, considering the Vikings will now need to find Percy Harvin level talent with the 25th overall this year, a 7th this year and a 3rd or 4th rounder next year if they want to get value out of what they gave up.

    Find an editor dude. Or better yet, stop writing entirely until you know anything at all about football.

    • you people from seattle are a generally nasty group of people. you’re getting the sonics back for cryin’ out loud. show some class.

  • gasolinesnuggie

    Regardless of this disagreement (this is really a horrible blog post that is not supported by much at all), this site is an awesome cap resource and really the first of it’s kind to be as extensive and accurate as it is. Thanks.

  • Jason, I would feel a lot worse if these comments weren’t almost completely from Seahawks fans. Apparently they’re incapable of being even a little bit objective.

    • Butch

      I am not a Seahawk fan or a Seattlite. I am a fan of census data and market sizes. Such is the source of my vitriol. I have been living in Singapore, Washington DC, New York City, New Orleans, and Alaska for the past 10 years.

    • gasolinesnuggie

      When in doubt, generalize!

      If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t join the conversation.

  • Butch

    You would think a CAP guy could crunch numbers and figure out what a small market is. San Diego is a small market. Milwaukee is a small market. Pittsburgh is a small market. Indianapolis is a very small market. You cant just say any market not NY, Chicago, or LA is small. Chicago is small compared to NY, as Seattle is small compared to Chicago, and Tampa is small compared to Seattle. By census measures, Seattle is the 9th largest market in the NFL. But Seattle’s market is larger than census statistics indicate because of its unique location. Seattle is the team choice for Idaho, Portland, Vancouver BC, and Alaska. Likewise, Boston is the team choice for almost all of New England and Montreal. Atlanta shares a similar hold in the South. Atlanta, Boston, and Seattle thus have a market that is more comparable to Philadelphia. The proof is in the pudding. Look at uncapped baseball salaries of those three clubs over the last 20 years. Each has had the top payroll in baseball, other than the Yankees, at some point. Only recently did Seattle decrease its payroll after years of huge salaries destroyed them.
    Furthermore, market size is less important in the NFL than any other major sport and may not matter at all. What matters is the wealth of the ownership and their willingness to pay large signing bonuses. This is not baseball where each of the 28 largest markets in the US has a team and no city outside the 28 largest has a team. The NFL shares revenue; Teams don’t get huge t.v. contracts; There is a salary cap. That is why cities like Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Milwaukee (Green Bay), Buffalo, and Charlotte North Carolina can have a team. The NFL could put a team in BFE Oklahoma City and its revenue could be as high as the NY Jets. It is also why the owners of mid-size and small market NFL teams don’t immediately pack up for Los Angeles. Honestly, how long would LA be without a team if the Dodgers left (not counting the Angels as an LA team). The answer is one year because the owners from Milwaukee would quadruple their team’s value simply by moving to a city that would welcome it with open arms. Not the case in the NFL, thus there is no team in LA ten years later (two left).
    For god’s sake, do some homework before spewing a bunch of nonsense.

    • Butch

      BTW – if you are referring to the small amount of media coverage, you would be correct. But that is a different issue than market size. No team on the west coast matters to the media in any sport other than the Los Angeles Lakers and maybe USC. But that has a lot more to do with time zones and the lack of intensity for team sports in the west compared to places like Philly and NY. SO in that respect, while I don’t agree that Seattle has made bad moves, I would agree insofar that bad moves by west coast teams are not discussed nearly as much as say, Mark Sanchez’ recent girlfriend’s dog.

      • Yes that would be what I am referring to. Here on the east coast there are a handful of teams you rarely hear anything about- Seattle is one of them. They had great teams in the Hasselbeck era and the coverage of them compared to say Philly or Pittsburgh was like night and day. I would say moves made by teams like Seattle, good or bad, are often just not discussed on a national level. Its just a much smaller media market. When I say they get a pass for things they have done that havent worked out its because they were generally just ignored. Im not saying people are saying they cant compete because of money so its ok. Everybody in the NFL spends except the Bengals. Even when Wilson was having arguably as good a year early on as RGIII and better than Luck, on a national level he was never even a name in consideration for ROTY. Part of that was draft status but part of it was just lack of media publicity. By years end people caught on but playing where he played hurt him in that regard. He should have gotten alot more credit early in the season for his work.

        • Butch

          I agree with that. If the Skins and Eagles were as exciting and as good as San Fran and Seattle, it would have been front page of every day. And we would read that Alex Smith was dating Colin Kaepernick’s sister and would know what color underwear Sydney Rice’s wife was wearing.
          My only beef was that Seattle is actually a larger mid-size market, comparable to DC, Boston, Miami, Philly etc. Same goes with SF. They are on that tier behind LA, NY, and Chicago, but there are 20 teams in smaller markets. But as far as media coverage, Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix, Oakland, and San Francisco may well be in Mongolia.

  • MetalSamurai

    Exactly, like Babaganoush said, why would you take Russell Wilson out of the equation, when he is precisely the reason the Seahawks now felt comfortable spending top-dollar on a multifaceted game changer? They are looking for the final pieces on a nearly Super Bowl ready team. And PLEASE tell me what other bad signings by the Seahawks under Carroll and Schneider make the Jets personnel management look like the Steelers!? Do you realize that Carroll is a brilliant team builder who chooses players for specific talents he needs and can utilize on his specific team, in specific schemes, and for specific roles? First off, Percy Harvin can be a game changer in many different roles, but his line of scrimmage play that you mentioned as a seemingly bad thing is one of the MAIN reasons that he was brought to Seattle. Harvin’s stellar play at the line and ability to break tackles and get yards after the catch will take pressure off Wilson and the read option since, as you pointed out while missing the point, teams have had all season to gameplan for him. Now they have to start all over, and honestly, I don’t think anybody is gonna be ready for what the Seahawks are bringing to the table. Not to mention over 2 million they will save in cap room by releasing Leon Washington now that they have Harvin, who has more return TD’s than any other player since he’s come into the league. Oh, and let’s remember Harvin has only had one season working with a good QB. This article makes me wonder if you’ve ever seen Percy Harvin play, or watched the Seahawks at all during the second half of last season… Together they will be unstoppable, and it won’t matter how much they paid Harvin when the Seahawks win the Super Bowl this year

  • MetalSamurai

    Is there some reason my well crafted response was deleted?

    • Nothing was deleted. Im not sure why you are not seeing it. You are talking about the one where you started with “Exactly, like Babaganoush…” Id never delete a post unless it was some profanity laced tirade. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion

  • MetalSamurai


  • Ghoston

    Halfway through the season and this trade looks bad for the Seahawks. Let’s see what happens the rest of the season.

    • briwas101

      Worst move in the entire NFL last offseason.

      There was no need to make the trade. We never needed percy harvin but now we will lose REAL seahawks because Harvin got the $ that should have gone to them.

  • Bill

    Harvin was a bonehead move IMO. You spent all off season saying your saving cap for carry over next year. You invested millions on Ford, Saunders, Gates, and Hakim. Only to burn almost half of what you saved on a WR that was your mistake in Seattle. Congrats Iz you just proved you can find a kick returner and only have to spend average QB money to do it. Harvin is also anther jag slot guy. You resigned Kerley so you arent paying Harvin 5-6 mil just to return kicks next year. Guy isnt a starter was never even the best WR on any team he was ever on. All that with Farve he did this. Well look at Rices numbers before and after Farve. Baldwin out played Harvin in Seattle. It isnt rocket science the guy is being out played by jag WRs there for that is what he is. I do like Baldwin thou, guy is a true leader on the field. I would take him over Harvin any day of the week and twice on sunday.