Future Contract Prediction: Percy Harvin
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Future Contract Prediction: Percy Harvin

One of the more perplexing scenarios as we dive into the 2013 NFL offseason surrounds the embattled, yet uber-talented Vikings WR Percy Harvin. Recent reports have Harvin and his camp demanding either a trade, or an extension. And not just any old extension - but one on the level of recent Larry Fitzgerald (8 yr / $113M) or Calvin Johnson (8 yr / $150.5M).

While many, including us, chuckled at the thought of this - our NFL team put the numbers to the test. Note that in terms of Percy Harvin's statistics we felt it required to include the combination of his Receiving & Rushing statistics, as he's become equally as valuable in both regards.

Comparable Wide Receivers

The first task at hand is to compile a list of variable WR with similar skill sets, value, and who signed their deal at an age near Percy's current age (24/25). We've included Calvin Johnson simply because Harvin has requested him to be involved in these disucssions.

Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Brandon Marshall 5 $47.3 million $9.46 million 26
Desean Jackson 5 $47 million $9.4 million 25
Andre Johnson 6 $70 million $11.7 million 26
Calvin Johnson 8 $150.5 million $18.8 million 26
Percy will be 25 on May 26, so expecting this deal to come this offseason, our variable receivers are in play. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of the contract information listed above.

Definition: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.
Length Value Average Salary
6 $78,700,000 $12,334,792
Statistical Analyzations
Now let's analyze these players statistically over their careers by showing Games/Season, Receptions/Season, Yards/Season, Yards/Game, and TD/Season. We'll also include statistics for the two years prior to that player signing his contract, to reflect a "prime" state he may have been in.
Brandon Marshall (CHI) Career 2007-2008 Prime %
Games/Season14.515.196%
Receptions/Season93.582.3114%
Rec Yards/Season10671041.2102%
Receiving Yards/Game73.5568.6107%
Receiving TD/Season6.55.7114%
107%
Desean Jackson (PHI) Career 2010-2011 Prime %
Games/Season14.214.5102%
Receptions/Season54.8352.595%
Rec Yards/Season951.61008106%
Receiving Yards/Game67.469.7103%
Receiving TD/Season4.65108%
102.8%
Andre Johnson (HOU) Career 2009-2010 Prime %
Games/Season14.614.5 99%
Receptions/Season84.1293.5 111%
Rec Yards/Season11351572 138%
Receiving Yards/Game78.398.2 125%
Receiving TD/Season68.5 141%
122.8%
Calvin Johnson (DET) Career 2010-2011 Prime %
Games/Season15.215.5102%
Receptions/Season73.286.5118%
Rec Yards/Season1174.41400.5119%
Receiving Yards/Game77.389.8116%
Receiving TD/Season9.814143%
120%
Percy Harvin (MIN) Career 2010-2011 Prime %
Games/Season 13.5 13 96%
Rush Att + Rec/Season 96.75 111.5 115%
Rush + Rec Yards/Season 996.25 1042.5 104%
Rush + Rec Yards/Game 73.7 67.8 110%
Rush + Rec TD/Season 6 6 100%
105%

Harvin is unique in that it's impossible to judge his true value without including both Rushing and Receiving data as we've done here (on a small scale). In doing so, we find that his numbers do in fact make him AS valuable on a play to play basis than our variable receivers. The glaring difference appears to be his inability to stay healthy (Games), and below average Touchdown numbers over his career.

A quick eye-check of these tables shows that statistically Percy belong somewhere in between Desean Jackson and Andre Johnson/Brandon Marshall going forward. Calvin Johnson all but demolishes him in the major impact stats, as he does with most WRs put to this test.

We'll take Calvin's contract out of the equation from here to conjur a more realistic prediction.

Results

Length of the Contract
At age 25 contract length shouldn't be a concern. But extreme health setbacks raise an immediate red flag. That being said, it's hard to imagine Harvin accepting anything less than the bottom line with this deal, and the numbers clearly say he's due a 6 year contract.

Value of the Contract
Upon removing Calvin Johnson from the above regression, and factoring in the extra 5% based on his performance recently in comparison to his full career plate, we're handed a MUCH more likely and reasonable average annual salary: $11,454,738. In 2013, this would make him the #3 top average paid WR in the NFL.

Spotrac's Prediction: 6 years, $68,728,430

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