As the 22nd overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, Harvin signed a five-year contract that had a core value of $11.05 million, with performance and playing-time incentives increasing the maximum value of the contract to $14.25 million.
The fourth-year receiver has already earned $8.905 million of that deal and, with NFL Players Association's base salary database showing base salaries of $915,000 in 2012 and $1.55 million in 2013, he will exceed the base value of the deal (Harvin also has $27,500 workout bonuses available in each of the next two seasons).
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In fact, Harvin's 2013 base salary will be even larger than what NFLPA records currently indicate.
According to a source with knowledge of Harvin's contract, the former Florida standout was originally scheduled to earn $1.175 million in base salary in 2013. That figure increased by $350,000 when Harvin caught more than 55 passes as a rookie (he finished with 60 receptions) and another $25,000 when Harvin was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Each season Harvin has with 70 or more receptions triggers a $500,000 increase in his 2013 base salary. With two 70-plus catch seasons (2010, 2011) on his resume, Harvin's base salary will increase to at least $2.55 million in the final season of his rookie contract.
Harvin has an additional $793,750 in base salary escalation available, based on his playing time, receiving production and Pro Bowl selection status this season.
Should Harvin maximize the remaining escalation available, he'll have a base salary of $3,343,750 in 2013, that would bring his earnings (base salary plus workout bonuses) over these next two seasons to $4,313,750. That's still a bargain for the Vikings, who have been reluctant to pay Harvin given their concerns over his ability to remain healthy. If Harvin reports on time and produces at a high level, the team may be inclined to rework his contract next offseason.
It may be also worth noting, the Vikings will have the hammer of the franchise tag on Harvin in 2014. With the salary cap expected to remain flat through the 2015 season, the wide receiver franchise tag for the 2014 season is unofficially projected to be worth $10.062 million.