Peter King at The MMQB recently offered his take on Percy Harvin signing with the Buffalo Bills, and fans may not be crazy about what he had to say. It doesn't seem like King is optimistic about this combination of player and team. Here's what he said:
Had I been Harvin, I’d have signed with New England, which really wanted him, at the right price. The quarterback is crucial for Harvin now. But he did a one-year, $6 million deal with Buffalo. Wherever Harvin signed, my point is this: At some point, tease is going to have to translate into performance. For the past two-and-a-half years Harvin has been, for various reasons, a shell of the player who in mid-2012 was a legitimate MVP candidate.
He then lists some disconcerting bullet points about Harvin.
- In the 40 regular-season games since mid-2012, Harvin has played 14 for Minnesota, Seattle and the Jets. He has missed 26 due to injury.
- Since mid-2012, Harvin has scored two regular-season touchdowns.
- Harvin has averaged 9.4 yards per catch in the last two-and-a-half seasons, a very low rate for a player who has a reputation as a game-breaker. Of the top 50 receivers in the NFL last year in receiving yards, only one (Matt Forte, 7.9) had a per-catch average of less than 10 yards.
- In the 14 games he’s played, Harvin has exceeded 60 receiving yards twice.
- His jet sweeps have helped Harvin’s rushing average (37 rushes for a 6.1-yard average since mid-2012) but have resulted in zero touchdowns.
King makes some solid points about Harvin, most of which tie to his injury history and the effect that's had on the last few years for him. This makes predicting his production in any offense a murky prospect, which is why the signing still makes sense for the Bills, given the parameters of his contract.
While Harvin would surely have benefited more from playing with a quarterback like Tom Brady, that doesn't make him more valuable to the New England Patriots. On the contrary, it makes him more valuable to the Bills, who need every weapon they can get to make up for what will arguably be the worst quarterback situation in their division. The Bills offered more money to Harvin because he's more valuable to what they're trying to build.
Regardless of what those recent numbers tell you, Harvin is still Harvin. For all the talk of injuries, he played 13 games last season and showed the talent that made him one of the most feared runners in the NFL, even if it was in smaller bursts. The guy is still so fast that referees literally can't keep up with his feet. If he's simply lining up and standing on the field, the Bills' offense will be better for it.
If you accept the notion that a history of injuries doesn't ensure future ailments, and if you write off 2014 as a bad year all around for him, there's much less to worry about with the Harvin deal. When you factor in that he's only signed for 2015, it's seat belts off, people. This signing is a good one, even if the Bills can't offer a franchise quarterback to maximize his production.