The undefeated Denver Broncos made their case for being the best team in the NFL on Sunday with a dominant 29-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers, and they added another weapon for Peyton Manning and the passing attack Monday in the form of tight end Vernon Davis.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Broncos acquired Davis and a 2016 seventh-round pick in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. Denver gave up a sixth-round pick in 2016 and a sixth-round pick in 2017.
Andrew Brandt of ESPN noted the Broncos will assume the remainder of Davis' $4.35 million salary and roughly $25,000 in roster bonuses.
Former Broncos quarterback and current general manager and executive vice president of football operations John Elway confirmed the trade and said Davis will be "a valuable addition to our team with his experience and leadership."
Torrey Smith posted a video of his teammate saying goodbye to 49ers fans after the trade:
The tight end took to Twitter to offer up a goodbye to 49er fans in a series of tweets: "Thank you @49ers for 10 amazing years. Its been a blessing to play for such an incredible organization. Shout out to all of the coaches, staff, and teammates that made this chapter a very special one in my life. Most of all, a very special thank you to the #49erfaithful family."
Davis was once among the NFL's most dangerous weapons at tight end. He enjoyed a career year in 2009 with 78 catches for 965 yards and 13 touchdowns. He matched those 13 touchdowns in 2013 while also posting respectable catch (52) and yardage (850) totals.
His numbers have dropped off dramatically over the past two years, though. Davis caught just 26 passes and scored two touchdowns in 14 games in 2014, and he continued to play a fringe role in the 49ers' passing game during the first half of this season.
That lack of impact combined with his contract made him among the most talked-about players leading up to the trade deadline. He counts nearly $7 million against the salary cap, and his contract runs out at season's end, per Spotrac.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com noted the tight end's agent told him not to pay attention to all the speculation. But Davis still expressed his thoughts about the potential of being moved:
I've been a Niner for 10 years. This is all I know. It's really not about me being upset. I understand the nature of the business. It's a business—it is. If anyone was somewhere for 10 years, they'd be highly upset, highly disappointed.
But you have to understand, after all of this, it's a business. I have no intention of going anywhere. But sometimes things happen and you just have to be prepared for it. I think anyone would be upset.
Getting a chance to join a team for which he could take on a larger role should help Davis get over any lingering disappointment. It's an opportunity for him to show the sharp decline in numbers had more to do with San Francisco's offense than his playmaking ability before he becomes a free agent.
The timing is interesting on Denver's part because tight ends Owen Daniels and Virgil Green had their best days of the season Sunday against the Packers. Daniels notched a season-high 44 receiving yards, and Green tallied a season-high 61 receiving yards. Still, the two have only accounted for three touchdown catches this year, and Davis is not far removed from his days as a superstar.
Davis may feel hurt on a personal level after spending nearly a decade with the 49ers. On a professional level, however, the move provides a chance for him to revitalize his career.