26 Feb 2009
Paul Kuharsky has a nice bit up at ESPN with discussing what the future holds for Marvin Harrison. Will he get a bite when free agency begins tonight? As Charley Casserly points out, you essentially have a slower possession receiver who isn't good playing from the slot and isn't used to being the second or third option.
Anyway, I got thinking a bit about Harrison and decided to run some similarity scores for him. I limited my sample to players who were coming off their age 34 year or older (Harrison was 36 last season). Here are the ten most similar players over a three-year span. Remember that the most similar players will be guys who didn't play much in the middle year, because Harrison was injured most of 2007.
Keenan McCardell, 2003-2005 (35): Comes out similar because of the 2004 holdout and trade, but his age 35 season has four touchdowns and nearly 300 more yards than Harrison's age 36 season. McCardell had 36 catches and 437 yards the next year, with no touchdowns, and that was pretty much it.
Ed McCaffrey, 2000-2002 (34): 19 catches the next year, 195 yards, end of career.
Tony Martin, 1999-2001 (36): Career over.
John Stallworth, 1985-1987 (35): Career over.
Isaac Bruce, 2004-2006 (34): Continued to be a useful starting wideout in 2007 and 2008, but he was two years younger and, although similar, better than Harrison in the years we're comparing.
Joe Horn, 2004-2006 (34): Aborted half season in Atlanta, end of career.
Art Monk, 1991-1993 (36): Monk played forever at roughly the same level. He had 46 catches for 581 yards and three touchdowns for the 1994 Jets. He had a 10.8% DVOA and was third in the NFL at age 37 with a 71 percent catch rate. (Yes, that's a taste of FO content to come.)
Terance Mathis, 1999-2001 (34): Signed in Pittsburgh and caught 23 balls for 218 yards to finish his career.
Irving Fryar, 1997-1999 (37): Played one more season and played well, with 41 catches, 548 yards, and five touchdowns.
The next four players on the similarity list are Frank Lewis (1981-1983), Cliff Branch (1982-1984), Drew Hill (1991-1993), and Steve Largent (1987-1989). None of them ever caught another pass in the NFL.
I suppose that Harrison could end up with a season like Fryar and Monk had. I don't see Harrison as really being similar to Monk outside of longevity. Fryar is a better comparison. Still, the most likely scenario is that Harrison is done, even if "done" actually turns out to be a 250-yard season for some random team like Detroit or Tennessee instead of retirement.
31 comments, Last at 03 Mar 2009, 2:45am by tuluse
Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?