Would Percy Harvin be a Good Fit for the Buffalo Bills in 2016?


Would Percy Harvin be a Good Fit for the Buffalo Bills in 2016?

Recently, former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Percy Harvin’s contract was voided by the team.  Harvin is free to sign anywhere that he wants when free agency begins on March 9th at 4 pm.  Would he be a good fit for Buffalo to bring back?

The Bills current roster is not deep at wide receiver and could definitely use a better No. 2 option for Tyrod Taylor. There are a couple of ways that they can get better production out of this role that don’t include signing Harvin.

They can hope that Robert Wood’s lack of production last year was due to the torn groin injury that he attempted to play through and that his play this upcoming season will be better. The Bills can attempt to utilize Charles Clay more in the passing game than they did last year.  He is a dynamic receiving threat when used appropriately.  They could also add a player via the draft, or in free agency, to improve at this position.

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Another option is to use a committee of players which was suggested by General Manager Doug Whaley when he said, “We’d love to.  But we think with the mix of guys we have we can kind of generate a number two receiver, between Goodwin, Woods, and Salas that we signed. And then Leonard Hankerson, if we can get him back, and then Greg Little that we signed. So we got a mix of guys that may not be one bona fide number two, but we can use those guys in different roles and then have a complementary two with basically just mixing those guys in.”

There are a few reasons why Harvin would not be good for the Bills.  They need to understand that if they do sign Percy that he is a huge injury risk.  They should be prepared for the possibility that he will miss time during the season.  His first three years in the league he only missed three games, but since then he has only played in just 28 out of a possible 64 games over the past four years.

The Bills don’t have much cap space.  They’re not likely to make a big splash at this position in free agency due to other offseason priorities like Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito. Last year the Bills paid Harvin $5.9 million, but it’s improbable that they would give him even close to that amount to return.  This past season they got a poor return on their investment when he only produced 19 catches for 218 yards and one touchdown over five games before getting injured.

There are a few reasons why signing Harvin could make sense for the Bills.  The Bills have already confirmed their interest in doing so based on the following quote from Doug Whaley.  “We’ll talk to him, see where he is and hopefully he comes back,” Whaley said. “We want him back.”  Additionally, he will only be 28 years old at the start of next season so he is relatively young.

“We’ll talk to him, see where he is and hopefully he comes back,” Whaley said. “We want him back.”

Percy has a great relationship with Rex Ryan and wide receiver coach Sanjay Lal.  He followed both of these men from New York to the Buffalo partly due to his appreciation of them.  He has previously mentioned how he enjoys working with Lal, and how he is happy that they gave him a chance to be more than just a “gadget” player in Buffalo.

Harvin would also be an asset on the return team for the Bills.  He has proven in the past that he is one of the most dynamic returners in the league.  On the other hand, putting him in this spot would increase his risk of injury.  Buffalo needs to weigh the risks of injury versus the potential rewards of him being their returner. The Bills went through quite a few returners this past season.  It would be nice to have someone with Harvin’s pedigree available in case the Bills need someone to fulfill this role.

Buffalo would be better off looking for a No. 2 receiving option from within via Robert Woods or Charles Clay.  They could draft one or more receivers for added depth as well.  The Bills have more immediate needs at defensive line, linebacker, offensive line and safety in free agency.  It would not be prudent to spend money to improve their receiving corps in light of these other needs.

If Harvin were to come back, it would have to be for a contract with minimal base salary.  It should include incentives so that if he stays healthy and productive that he would be properly rewarded for those achievements.  This is the only way it would make sense for both the Buffalo Bills and Percy Harvin to reunite for the 2016 season.