Heading into the 2013 offseason, the San Francisco 49ers will be once again looking to situate the wide receiver corps. After Ted Ginn Jr. and Randy Moss inevitably depart, the Niners will have only four contracted players at the position.
And of the four returning, two are coming off season-ending injuries and another has yet to record a single NFL catch. Michael Crabtree stands out as the one dependable WR for the Niners going forward. It's a virtual certainty that the 49ers will look for outside help this offseason, and should explore all options.
On Sunday, NFL.com reported that the Minnesota Vikings will be examining trade offers for Percy Harvin. The Vikings WR currently has one year left on his deal, and reportedly wants out. Finally, the Vikings are in agreement and seem willing to meet Harvin's demands.
49ers would seem like a good landing spot for Harvin…He would be a weapon in that offense and the 49ers have a zillion draft picks.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 10, 2013
The 49ers will have roughly 14 available selections in the 2013 NFL Draft. They could potentially gain more with the trade of Alex Smith as well.
49ers 2013 picks
1. First round: Own pick
2. Second round: Own pick
3. Third round: Own pick
4. Third round: From Carolina in trade-back during 2012 draft
5. Third round: Likely compensatory selection
6. Fourth round: Own pick
7. Fifth round: Own pick
8. Fifth round: From Indianapolis in trade-back during 2012 draft
9. Sixth round: Own pick
10. Sixth round: From Miami in trade-back during 2012 draft
11. Seventh round: Own pick
12. Seventh round: From Cincinnati for Taylor Mays
13. Seventh round: Likely compensatory selection
14. Seventh round: Likely compensatory selection
According to Steve Bateman, the talk around Minnesota is that they are looking for a 2nd and a 4th rounder to part with Harvin. If that is the case, the 49ers can make the trade and still have three 3rd round picks to move around in the early-to-mid rounds.
They would still have 12 picks to do whatever they please, leaving them plenty of ammunition to maneuver throughout the draft.
Harvin is an extremely dynamic player that could be a multidimensional threat for San Francisco. He can be a kick and punt returner, sharing time with Kyle Williams and LaMichael James. Over his career, Harvin has shouldered the return duties, emerging as one of the top threats in the league.
Again, since Ginn is expected to be on his way out, this would be a logical addition.
Harvin also operates out of the backfield and could potentially add an entire new dimension to the Pistol formation. With Harvin lining up in the backfield like Randall Cobb in Green Bay, San Francisco can introduce a litany of innovative new plays.
And if Delanie Walker leaves, Harvin can be that "swiss army knife" for the Niners.
Harvin was also greatly frustrated in Minnesota; likely because of the inconsistency and lack of dynamism outside the running game. In his fifth year, he could come to the Bay Area and find a home with sensation Colin Kaepernick. As a pass-catcher, Harvin possesses the perfect skill set for this timing-based West Coast hybrid system.
From a financial perspective, Harvin's cap figure in 2013 is set at approximately $4.02 million, which is a steal. The 49ers would have a dynamic tandem between him and Michael Crabtree, and it would cost them next to nothing. A lot of the top receivers average double-digit millions per season. Harvin's deal would be closer to what San Francisco paid Randy Moss this past season.
Now, given that Mario Manningham is coming off a torn ACL and owed a cap figure of $4.95 million in 2013, the 49ers may cut him and start fresh. If they part ways with Manningham, the 49ers can save $2.35 million in cap room and put it toward Harvin.
And once Harvin's deal expires in 2014, he could potentially take a deal to re-sign with the 49ers and lock down this WR group. The opportunity to win, see a lot of touches and play with a franchise quarterback may be enough to make Harvin fall in love with San Francisco.
This deal may not only work out in the short-term, but it could be a terrific move in the long run.