Holding out in the NFL seldom works, just ask receivers Dwayne Bowe and Mike Wallace.
The Minnesota Vikings, while in a bind at the position, shouldn’t cave in to his demands. He’ll have to report eventually and will lose significant amounts of money in the process if he chooses to go the route of holdout.
Florio broke down what exactly a holdout would mean for the wide receiver in terms of his status as a free agent next spring and any penalties he would face for carrying out an extended holdout:
Because Harvin has four years of service, he could stay away from training camp and skip up to 10 weeks of the regular season while still getting credit toward the final year of his contract and becoming an unrestricted free agent next year. Though he would face significant fines and the loss of multiple game checks, a holdout is likely unless he signs a new contract.
If Harvin does anything this offseason while weighing his options he should look back at Maurice Jones-Drew’s situation from last offseason.
He’s trying to make a point, like Jones-Drew, that his play on the field has earned him a bigger payday than he’s currently getting. That’s what contract seasons are for: To prove you are a consistent and reliable performer that deserves the big money.
Harvin has not proved to be consistent, missing several games in 2012 due to injury and a few in his first three seasons in the league for the same reason. He has also never eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in a single season despite having over 100 targets thrown his way in two of the three full seasons he suited up for the Vikings.
Is it a sign of something wrong in the Vikings’ offense or is it a sign that Harvin isn’t as explosive in the passing game as he’d have you believe?
Prior to going down for the season Harvin was at his boiling point after the Vikings produced just 63 yards passing in a game against the Seattle Seahawks.
"It's very frustrating," Harvin said. "I would be lying if I told you different. We've got a lot of work to do. We're all still confident we can turn this thing around."
While he does have a valid point about the team's struggles, he is a part of those struggles just as much as his teammates. Christian Ponder hasn’t been throwing the football for that whole time; Harvin did have Brett Favre hurling him the pigskin in his first two seasons in the league.
The Vikings must stand strong and resist any of Harvin’s demands, when they come, and negotiate with him during the season while he is playing and producing for the team at a high level. Not before.
That’s not how it should work, and not how it has worked in the NFL recently. Holdouts aren’t having the intended effects players are hoping for when carrying them out. They usually end up resulting in lost time for the player to get on the field and put his skills on display for the following offseason free agency period; hurting them more than their team in the process.
A retired NFL player had some insight for Jones-Drew, which also applies here for Harvin.
"Years from now he's going to miss the million of dollars he blew trying to make a point," the anonymous player said.