As many 49ers fans already know, tight end Vernon Davis has been holding out for a new contract from the team in hopes that they’ll pay him what he feels he deserves. Davis has been a versatile contributor for the team the past several years, and San Francisco needs to buckle down and offer him a bigger contract—or trade him to a team that will.
With the team’s training camp right around the corner, Davis has given indication that he won’t be attending without a new deal, in a message tweeted out from assistant editor, Steve DelVecchio of LarryBrownSports.com:
Though there have already been consequences for Davis, along with guard Alex Boone who is also holding out for more money, the pair can apparently afford hefty fines, according to DelVecchio.
Boone and Davis are officially in a stalemate with the Niners. They are refusing to show up until they get new contracts, while the team is refusing to negotiate until they show up. The Niners can fine players $30,000 per day for every day that they miss training camp. That’s almost $100,000 every three practices, so you would think that might take its toll on Davis and Boone after a while. We might be surprised.
Davis has been a huge factor in the 49ers' success—especially during the last three seasons, when the team has made deep playoff runs. Even though the tight end position is typically a hybrid blocking and receiving role, Davis is being thrown at frequently enough that he thinks he should be paid like a receiver.
Take a look at the following video starting at 1:38 to see a great touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Keapernick to Davis.
His current contract, which he signed in 2010, averages about $7.35 million per season according to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. That dollar amount puts him behind several other high profile tight ends in the league—including New England’s Rob Gronkowski, Dallas’ Jason Witten and New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, who recently signed a new contract worth up to $40 million, making him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
Davis wants to be at the same pay level—and based on his stats the last few seasons, he deserves to be.
|Vernon Davis Stats (2011-2013 Seasons)|
It’s true that at 30, Davis is older than his some of his higher-paid peers in the tight end position, including Gronkowski and Graham, but he has consistently put up solid numbers, and there's no reason to think he can't do the same in 2014. In fact, last season he put up 15 of the team’s 24 touchdown catches (playoffs included), according to Barrows.
Many folks would argue that Davis should honor his multimillion dollar contract by showing up to training camp next week. Heck, most of us would be more than happy to be athletically gifted enough to play a game for $7 million a year—but in today’s world of professional sports, the reality is that many players and coaches alike don’t honor their contracts if they feel they are being underpaid or want to jump to another team elsewhere for more money.
San Francisco fans would love to see Vernon Davis suiting up in scarlet and gold again next season, but the team needs to either negotiate a better deal, or trade him somewhere that is willing to pay for one of the league's top tight ends.
Mike Martinez is a contributor for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter at @MikeMartinezBR