While Harvey certainly hasn't developed into the best player on the Jaguars defense like I once thought he would, he's been a little better than people give him credit for. Although he has only tallied a disappointing eight sacks through his three seasons in Jacksonville, he has been a strong contributor as a run defender.
However, even after three poor years of pass rushing, the Jaguars brass have yet to throw Harvey under the bus for his lack of production. Gene Smith told Josh Oesher of Jaguars.com that he still holds hope for the 24 year old:
"He's still young," Smith said. "He was a high draft choice and he has had a lot of starts for us. He's still young. You hope at some point he's going to be able to make a move. He did not make that last year during the season. We had some guys earn the opportunity to play over him."
Even with comments like that, though, it's hard to believe the Jaguars can continue to be patient with a player that has one of the biggest contracts on the team and is due just under $3 million in 2011. Is that salary worth paying to a player that seems like a longshot to start along the defensive line next season? Most logic would tell you that it isn't.
There are few different approaches the Jaguars could take in regards to Harvey:
a) Keep him on the roster, pay him his $3 million and hope that he finally is "able to make a move."
b) Ask him to take a pay cut so that he makes an amount more appropriate for a rotational player.
c) Release him and officially cleanse the team of the 2008 draft that spun the Jaguars into a rebuilding.
d) Trade him and recoup a bit of value.
As much as I'd love to hold on hope to the idea that Derrick Harvey could turn into the pass rushing nightmare for opposing quarterbacks, the reality that he could just be a giant bust is difficult to ignore. If the Jaguars are able to find a trade partner, that could be a very appealing option for them.
While it would initially seem crazy to think that a team would want to trade for a player that has essentially done nothing besides stop the run in his three seasons in the NFL, it might not be. After all, the Bengals traded to acquire Reggie Nelson based on athletic ability with the hope that he could develop into a quality safety in Cincinnati.
Now this is purely hypothetical, but one potential trade that could make sense is with the Denver Broncos. The Broncos had some strong depth at safety in 2010 with Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill, Darcel McBath and David Bruton, but added to it by drafting Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter in the 2nd and 4th rounds of the 2011 draft.
With their transition to a 4-3 in 2011, they could be in the hunt for a defensive end with run stopping ability and prototypical 4-3 size. While rare, a player for player trade could make sense for the two teams. Mile High Report's Sayre Bedinger even acknowledged the fact that Bruton could be the subject of a trade prior to the 2011 season, although he was hopeful that such a trade wouldn't happen.