Vernon Davis is next in line for a big pay bump, and he's gonna get it. Why?
Because he's earned it, and he's worth it. That's why.
Seeking a five-year, $40 million extension with $25 million guaranteed is 100 percent appropriate for a player emerging as likely the NFL's premiere tight end. Davis has been a willing blocker from the get go. Vernon is no stranger to contact—he enjoys it.
Sure, there were some bruises along the way as Vernon matured; from fighting with teammates under Mike Nolan to when Singletary banished Davis from the sideline; he has grown into a leader, a team player, a deep threat receiver , and now a potential future Hall-of-Famer.
He's the complete package. Singletary's rant must have done something, because Vernon is now an ideal 49er. At 26 years-young, Davis' 965 yards and 13 touchdowns last year could be just the beginning of his offensive production.
Much has been made of the fact that Alex Smith hasn't had any continuity at offensive coordinator over his career. Vernon Davis hasn't had it either. If he starts holding on to previously dropped passes, he could be doing some damage next year.
If we are to assume defenses have taken note of Davis' break-out year and that opposition will likely be double covering him more often, it's going to open things up more underneath for Frank Gore, Micheal Crabtree, and the rest of the offense. Take this into account when determining his monetary worth.
If that cuts his production down to (only?) eight touchdowns, that's still compensation of about $1 million per trip to the endzone, which is reasonable.
If San Francisco waits until Davis is a free agent, they could very well be paying him more later than he is currently asking.
For instance, Davis only gets better (not too unlikely given the direction the team seems headed) and catches 80 balls for 1200 yards and 16 touchdowns. That kind of production following a break-out year could then possibly command up to $12 million annually.
Go the other way with it and focus on the worst case scenario—injury.
Vernon plays a physical position in a physical game. He therefore (duh!) risks physical injury. The sought contract has $25 million or so guaranteed, which is generous, but not over-the-top. Should Davis get hurt early in a season, he'll get paid—but not as much as he otherwise would if he was on the field snagging incentives.
And of course, he's our Captain.
Coach Mike Singletary rewarded the outspoken tight end's hard work and changed attitude by naming him a team Captain. This makes him an integral part of the team not only on the field, but in the locker room as well.
But what else would Davis signing mean? Like Patrick Willis' signing, it sends a message: The 49ers are family, and family takes care of it's own. It helps the 49ers' reputation and culture to keep a player like Vernon Davis here.
I say strike while the iron is hot.
I say get while the getting is good.
Vernon Davis produced last year as though it was a contract year—so give him a contract.