USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers quarterback would really enjoy it if his tight end and right guard came in for training camp in July.
Two important cogs on the 49ers offense have decided they’re much more valuable than what their current salaries would denote.
Tight end Vernon Davis and offensive lineman Alex Boone both skipped the team’s recent mandatory minicamp. They each forfeited nearly $70,000 in fines, not to mention a combined six figures in lost workout bonuses, according to Spotrac.
The Niners Pro Bowl tight end has two years and over $14 million remaining on a near record-setting deal he signed back in 2010. His $7.35 million average still qualifies as third-highest among NFL tight ends, per CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco.
Meanwhile, the versatile Boone also has two years left on his deal. Except his $4.58 million owed doesn’t quite afford the same financial security as his pass-catching teammate.
Now, who has more leverage in future contract negotiations—Davis or Boone?
In the eyes of The Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows, the latter has the better argument while the former wields more leverage.
Only one member of the Red and Gold will earn more than Davis in 2014. But said player—right tackle Anthony Davis—and any other 49er isn't the one-man, backup-less “deep threat” that No. 85 so uniquely represents, according to Barrows.
Boone, for his part, is more deserving of a raise. Yet the “abundance of interior offensive linemen,” including the up-and-coming Joe Looney, overshadows his bargaining power.
While the Bee’s veteran scribe correctly hit on the financial aspects, he’s off the mark when it comes to positional value.
There’s no denying the questionable depth chart behind Davis. Derrek Carrier is merely unproven talent, Garrett Celek is a serviceable but far from spectacular No. 2 and top backup Vance McDonald must vastly improve upon his disappointing rookie campaign.
All that said, San Francisco’s revamped corps of wide receivers would sufficiently make up for Davis’ absence.
Blazing rookie Bruce Ellington would serve as an effective downfield target. The likes of Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Quinton Patton and perhaps even Brandon Lloyd would take care of everywhere else on the field (more on this later).
Plus, Davis’ disappearing act during the most important game of the year will further diminish his negotiating authority (see: two catches for 16 yards in NFC Championship).
As for Boone, he’s one of, if not the most, valuable assets on this offensive line.
He’s a dominant and athletic force as a run-blocking right guard in a run-heavy offense. He’s also the team’s best backup at the most important position on the line, as he demonstrated by allowing zero quarterback pressures from the left tackle spot against the St. Louis Rams in Week 13.
Looney, Adam Snyder and to a lesser extent Jonathan Martin are all quality reserves. But they’re no Alex Boone.
No. 75 stands in a far better position for a new contract, so expect him to secure one before Davis does.