Aside from extending star defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson and what they plan to do with the sixth overall pick in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft, the next biggest question surrounding the New York Jets concerns the fate of wide receiver Percy Harvin.
After being acquired mid-October last season by now former general manager John Idzik, Harvin has an impending cap hit, being owed a total of $41.5 million over the next four seasons, not to mention that New York will have to surrender a fourth round pick if Harvin remains on the roster past March 19th.
Due to these factors, it has been widely speculated by fans and insiders alike that it is very possible that Harvin could be released prior to the March 19th deadline, saving the Jets from that contract and reducing the compensation from the trade from a fourth to a sixth round draft choice.
While cutting Harvin makes sense for these reasons, I still believe the best option is to retain him. Harvin isn't a perfect player, then again who is, but he is the kind of dynamic playmaker that this offense has lacked for years, and with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey running a spread offense this season, it's not out of the realm of possibilities that Harvin has a big year in New York.
People will point at the contract and draft choice as reasons to let Harvin go, and both are valid points, but at the same time, if you're letting Harvin go, who's replacing him? Reports surfaced last week that Gang Green would "roll out the red carpet" to acquire impending free agent wideout Demaryius Thomas, however it was revealed by Denver Broncos president John Elway today that if no extension was reached by the deadline, that Thomas would be given the franchise tag. Therefore, Thomas is no longer an option for the Jets.
After Thomas, the big free agents receivers remaining on the board are Dez Bryant, who will likely be franchised if an extension with the Dallas Cowboys isn't worked out by the deadline, Michael Crabtree, who's had an up and down career thus far, Kenny Britt, who's off the field issues are well documented, and Randall Cobb. With the issues attached to the top free agent receivers, Cobb could very well be the most viable option to replace Harvin if he is indeed cut, however, the Green Bay Packers have already expressed their interest in trying to keep Cobb along side Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
The best point of attack here would be for Mike Maccagnan and company to attempt to re-negotiate Harvin's contract—a process that appears as if it may already be underway as Maccagnan is scheduled to meet with Harvin's agent at some point in the near future.