Discarded general manager John Idzik memorably called it a "potential coup" last October when the Jets acquired Harvin from the Seahawks in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick. The move represented a brief flash of excitement in an otherwise dreary 4-12 Jets campaign, even if Harvin didn't spark the offense in the manner the team had hoped.
Harvin's contract -- signed in March 2013 -- was structured in a way that guaranteed money only through the first two years of the deal. A Harvin commitment is now year-to-year for the balance of the contract, which runs through 2018. If the Jets keep Harvin around, they owe him $10.5 million this season. If they decide to move on, they owe him nothing and suffer no cap hit.
The key date in the partnership is March 19. If the Jets still have Harvin after that date, the sixth-round pick to Seattle becomes a fourth-rounder. Is new GM Mike Maccagnan willing to give up that draft real estate? Even a mid-round selection is gold to a personnel grunt like Maccagnan.
Given the draft consequence and high salary (Harvin is the NFL's third-highest paid wide receiver by both total value and average per season), it's hard to imagine the Jets staying in business with him under the current terms. The Jets could choose to negotiate with Harvin as a free agent, but by then Harvin will be fair game to 31 other teams.
It's very possible the Jets have already made their decision internally, and are already plotting their next step. If they cut ties with Harvin completely, potential free-agent targets include Randall Cobb, Jeremy Maclin, Torrey Smith and Michael Crabtree. (Yes, Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas are also scheduled for free agency, but keep dreaming, Jets fans.)
What we do know is that the Jets will need reinforcements at wide receiver if Harvin isn't back. Eric Decker is an upper-tier No. 2 type, but he needs a No. 1 to run with. Jeremy Kerley isn't that guy. The draft presents another option: The Jets own the No. 6 overall pick and could be a prime player for Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.