By Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir
The news that Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin could be available in a trade exploded into a major topic of discussion among Redskins fans on Twitter, message boards, and talk radio. It brought to the surface an issue that has been bubbling near the surface since the end of the season: Do the Redskins need to upgrade their wide receiver corps? Or should they focus their draft picks and reduced cap money on other areas of need?
Redskins insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler debate the issue in this week’s edition of Point-Counterpoint.
Rich Tandler: One minute, Redskins fans are cheering on the Shanahan-Allen administration for being responsible with the salary cap and building through the draft. The next minute they hear that Harvin might be available and many of them are urging the team to spend at least its second-round pick and enough cap money for the Megatron-sized contract that Harvin will want. These people need to be reminded that the Redskins gave out sizeable contracts to wide receivers Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan. Whether it’s Harvin or another “upgrade” at the wide receiver position, the team needs to use its limited resources on other positions.
Tarik El-Bashir: In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been infatuated with Harvin since 2004, when as a rookie reporter, I witnessed him snag three interceptions, score four touchdowns and rack up 382 total yards in the Virginia high school championship game. He’s just as dangerous in the NFL. You think Kyle Shanahan’s offense was creative last season? Just imagine Harvin lining up in the backfield, the slot and the outside – all on the same series. Don’t forget he can return kicks, he’s only 24 and has accounted for 29 touchdowns in 54 career games. Given what it will take (in picks and perhaps cap space) to land Harvin, I realize this is more fantasy than reality. But the Redskins owe it to themselves to at lease investigate the possibility.
Tandler: Yes, a player like Harvin would be nice to have lined up next to RG3 and Alfred Morris in Kyle’s offensive scheme. But, if you’re going to give up a high draft pick and a big contract, why not bring Revis Island to Landover? A cornerback who is in his prime (given that his injured left knee checks out) would be a much more valuable addition to the Redskins than a wide receiver. Griffin is such a talented quarterback that he will make stars out of whatever wide receivers you put in the lineup with him. And one more thing. Harvin has been known to be a diva. I saw this yesterday and I retweeted it: “Love a diva from afar. Don't invite one into your life, or onto your team. Not worth the drama. And there will be drama.”
El-Bashir: As I explained in last week’s point/counterpoint, I believe this team is close to contending. And, as we know, windows of opportunities in pro sports don’t remain open for long. If there ever were a time for the Redskins to go for it, that time is now. And there’s this: I see Robert Griffin III throwing the ball (a lot) more than he did as a rookie. I also have reservations about the health of Pierre Garçon’s foot, Josh Morgan’s surgically repaired ankle and Santana Moss’ $6 million cap hit. The addition of Harvin would fix any of those potential pitfalls – and potentially provide an answer at kick returner, too.