Well, Jimmy Graham has officially set the bar for TEs that are, well, him. He just signed a 4 year/$40 mill deal with $21 mill guaranteed. Disgruntled 49er tight end Vernon Davis is still talking to the trees when he expresses his desire for a contract extension. After saying for a couple weeks that if he doesn’t have a deal in place by camp it won’t be a big deal and that he’d be here, there are rumblings out of somewhere that he may not show.
What to do? Well, trading him may not be the most prudent thing to do, and certainly there is a market for him, but at what point do you tell him to shit or get off the pot? If this was a shitty deal (like say, Alex Boone’s), then I’d be behind him. However, he signed a very generous deal as a rookie, he signed the richest deal for a TE in the league back in 2010, and he’s still the 3rd highest paid TE in the league.
And he wants more? Sorry, no. He has once again positioned himself above the team. As he did for 3 years coming in to the league. We all remember click-clack, the dropped passes, and the stupid penalties. If he doesn’t show up to training camp, which opens on July 25th, I’d definitely think about trading him. Preferably to a team that needs a guy to hype. Tampa Bay and Jacksonville spring to mind. Even the Jets. They’d love his shtick in the Big Apple. The alternative is what? Bench him? Let him play when the games start? Certainly viable options, but the Niners are NOT going to knuckle under to him and his contract demands. To do so at this point would open the gates for guys like Crabs and Iupati to hold out next year. The front office has been very very good at positioning themselves with team-friendly contracts and fallback positions should guys leave (hello, Dashon). The delicate balance between contracts, upcoming free agents, and the finite amount of money to go around is a messy and tangled web of current value, future potential, and aging players. A tough job that has waylaid many a team in this salary cap era. For VD to do this now is a fairly large threat to the team this front office and coaching staff has built.
Sure, VD’s a great talent, a top 3 TE. But the Niners should be able to get some great draft picks, and maybe a player or two, for his services. And be free of the bullshit. Truth is, he’s a 30 year old TE. Is he worth a 4 year extension? Maybe. Maybe not. He’s a good blocker, and he’s got speed to burn, but the 49ers now have a solid stable of WRs and V McD can block as well, so they ain’t going to fall off the map without him. McDonald’s a decent pass-catcher as well, so why not trade the disease?