NFL Training Camp: What Can the 49ers Expect from the Leonard Davis Signing?
According to the 49ers' official press release, the 33-year-old Davis signed a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Listed at 6'6", 375 lbs, Davis spent most of the 2011 season as a backup for the Detroit Lions but did not appear in any games. Prior to that, he spent 10 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys, earning three trips to the Pro Bowl from 2007-2009.
Davis obviously brings a lot of experience and size to the table, but is coming off offseason foot surgery and did not play last season. The 49ers must believe his injury is close to 100 percent recovered to offer him a contract, but the rust from a full year off is somewhat concerning.
If nothing else, Davis brings a veteran presence to an otherwise green group of right guards, with fourth-year man Alex Boone and second-year man Daniel Kilgore currently competing to the starting spot. Neither player has started a regular-season contest in the NFL, though Boone was given the first-team reps in OTAs.
However, if the former first-round pick can return to form, this could be a steal for the 49ers. Considering the timing of the signing, Davis most likely signed for a bargain price, if not the veteran's minimum. Even if he doesn't play at a Pro Bowl level, a solid season from Davis would help stabilize the right side of the offensive line.
The 49ers shouldn't count on Davis to be the player he was two years ago, but he shouldn't be completely counted out of the competition either. Davis said via PressDemocrat.com that he still feels that he can be a starter, and could be in camp with something to prove, much like fellow newcomer Randy Moss.
While the Davis signing can't be taken as a direct reflection on Boone or Kilgore's performance, it's not exactly a glowing endorsement either. Coach Jim Harbaugh is obviously looking for the best possible option at right guard, and wouldn't be wasting time with Davis if he felt he couldn't contribute.
Overall, this signing presents little to no risk for the 49ers. Potentially, the team may have found its starting right guard for pennies on the dollar. However, if Davis does not pan out, he can be cut before the season in favor of the younger options.
Either way, the 49ers made sure they did their due diligence at a critical position as they gear up for a Super Bowl run in 2012.
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