Two receivers dominated the NFL's headlines late on Thursday for different reasons. One impending free agent re-signed with his club and the other is a disgruntled player seeking a huge contract.
Make that two of the bigger wide receiver names set to hit free agency that re-signed with their club. Earlier this week, Dwayne Bowe signed a five-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs taking him off of the market and that apparently set the bar for Miami Dolphins wide receiver, Brian Hartline. The former Ohio State Buckeye re-signed with Miami late on Thursday with a mega-contract.
Hartline also signed a five-year contract to stay in South Beach, to the tune of $30.775 million. Not a bad haul for a guy that had one receiving touchdown last year and hadn't cracked 45 receptions in his three previous seasons. While Hartline has decent speed and good hands, he's widely-viewed as a No.2 type of receiver even though Dolphins management paid him as a No.1 guy.
Initially, it was rumored that the Dolphins would seek out former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings in free agency this year, whether or not they retained Hartline. That rumor has seemed to cool a bit and now the big gossip is that Miami will make a run at former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. Either way, if they were able to land either of those two in conjunction with Hartline, it would likely make Miami an immediate contender--especially with the surprisingly solid play from 2012 rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.
Meanwhile, as Hartline was finalizing his new deal, another wide receiver continued to make headlines with his discontent with his current team. For almost a year now, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin has made it public just how undervalued he feels. When healthy and on the field, Harvin is incredibly effective and is indeed a triple-threat player because of his receiving, rushing and returning skills. Unfortunately, Harvin has suffered from a variety of ailments in his NFL career, most notably being his migraines.
It has since been reported that Harvin threatened to walk out on his team last year, after requesting a trade and participating in a subsequent heated exchange with uber-evenly-keeled head coach, Leslie Frasier. Now, get this: according to multiple sources, Harvin is seeking a Calvin Johnson-like contract. While Harvin is a bit more versatile than Johnson, it would be hard to rationalize a contract for him that equals that of one that is being paid to the record-setting "Megatron".
Even though the Harvin contract news is a few weeks old, this is a story that's sure to develop over the course of this offseason. If the fifth-year receiver stays true to his holdout threat, the Vikings could look to rid themselves of him, most likely via trade. He would likely command a hefty price for that trade, but it may not be as steep as some think because of the headache that has followed him of late (pardon the pun). Either way, whichever team wants to keep Harvin would need to give him a big contract going forward.
Regardless, Minnesota is also heavily interested in Wallace, likely as a replacement for Harvin if they can't coax him to stay. After the Jerome Simpson experiment didn't work for the second team in as many years, Minnesota is again forced to look for some other viable options for their young quarterback, Christian Ponder.
Usually, it's the first few days of free agency that are this crazy--not the week leading up to free agency. It's going to be interesting to see how the Bowe and Hartline contracts affect the players at the position set to hit free agency, as well as the bearing on Harvin's situation.