Why Vernon Davis deserves to be the highest-paid TE in the NFL

These stats indicate that Vernon Davis currently is the best tight end in the NFL, despite being a poor route runner.

VERNON DAVIS
2013 regular season stats
Yards per reception: 16.3
Receptions per touchdown: 4
Percentage of Colin Kaepernick’s targets: 19.7
Percentage of Kaepernick’s TD passes: 61.9
Kaepernick’s passer rating when targeting Davis: 127.5
Pro Football Focus run blocking grade: +0.9

Career postseason stats
Yds/rec: 22.2
Rec/TD: 3.86
QB rating when targeting Davis: 124.5

JIMMY GRAHAM
2013 regular season stats
Yds/rec: 14.1
Rec/TD: 5.38
Percentage of Drew Brees’ targets: 20.9
Percentage of Brees’ TD passes: 41
Brees’ passer rating when targeting Graham: 112.8
PFF run blocking grade: -7.1

Career postseason stats
Yds/rec: 13.1
Rec/TD: 5.3
QB rating when targeting Graham: 120.9

JULIUS THOMAS
2013 regular season stats
Yds/rec: 12.1
Rec/TD: 5.42
Percentage of Peyton Manning’s targets: 13.4
Percentage of Manning’s TD passes: 21.9
Manning’s passer rating when targeting Thomas: 140.5
PFF run blocking grade: -17.8

Career postseason stats
Yds/rec: 10.4
Rec/TD: N/A
QB rating when targeting Thomas: 79.9

As you can see, Davis would put up Megatron-numbers if he played in a prolific passing offense like the Broncos or the Saints or the Packers.

    1. I believe this kid is under contract with the Seahawks. Not sure why all journalist feel the need to be controversial . Why not report the facts and the questions the fans want answered? Vernon’s stats can be manipulated the other way. From a fan standpoint I like Vernon Davis but he is not the best TE. He drops a lot of balls and for a big man goes down pretty easy

      1. Davis should be penalized because the 49ers pass less frequently than any other team and Kaepernick was the 34th-most accurate passer in the NFL last season?

        1. Couple flaws here:

          1.) Vernon’s run blocking grade has dipped every year since Harbaugh arrived.

          2.) Witten and Gronkowski – who you’ve chosen to omit – are both higher rated blockers, account for a larger % of their team’s total offense and have each obliterated the 1,000-yard mark – something VD might never do.

          It’s a system argument. The 49ers don’t need to have the highest-paid TE in football to win.

          1. Very good point, the niners dont need the highest paid TE, especially this year with all the weapons at WR. I personally love Davis, very cool dude. I hope he ends this hold out. Cuz i dont think he will get an extension.

        2. When Davis signed the contract he’s now playing under, he caught more balls, for more yards, while scoring the same number of TD’s. He played to his contract, which was front-loaded, something most NFL teams don’t do.

          Why should the front office be forced to negotiate an extension for one of the highest(third) paid players at his position, with two years left on his contract? I might understand if he were grossly underpaid, but he’s not.

          1. As you said, his contract was front loaded. He’s got two years remaining on the back end of his deal. They would be nuts not to want to renegotiate given as you pointed out his increase in production after signing the current deal.

            1. He caught more balls, for more yards, with the same number of TD’s when he signed the contract in ’09. My point was he played to, not above his contract.

              If he were vastly underpaid I would understand, but he’s not.

              The 49er cap position next year is already near it’s ceiling. I’m not sure how much, if at all it will increase. But being faced with resigning Crabtree, Iupati and others, puts the Niner front office behind the 8-ball.

              Committing more money to Vernon Davis makes those decisions even tougher. Especially when he’s still under contract and being paid fairly well.

        3. What you forget to mention, no shocker, is that Davis also gets the benefit of playing with 8-9 guys constantly in the box allowing him to get a lot more favorable matchups in the passing game and much bigger plays off playaction. If he goes to more pass heavy offenses he’ll face a lot more pass defensive alignments.

          But yeah let’s go ahead and pick and choose what works and forget the other stuff.

        4. The title for your story Grant should have been ” How Vernon Davis succeeds in spite of a sub par Quarterback”. You bring up meaningless stats. Because you know Kap had the highest yards per completion in the NFL, was 6th in yards per attempt, was the highest rated passer on 3rd downs, was 5th in QBR rating for starting QB’s and 10th overall in QB rating. You realize Steve Young was 33 when he “got it” and won the SB? And sorry your Dad made a fool of himself after Kaps contract got finished. Kap proved more than any QB I have seen in modern times that he doesn’t just preach being a team player and not wanting anything unearned but lives it. That has to hurt haters like you. You guys (You and Pops) could apologize for your unfounded attacks on Kap but then people might mistake you for decent human beings. BTW I agree V.D. is a beast but why doesn’t he fight for every ball regardless of accuracy like Boldin does?

          1. And you argued imaginary #s for V.D. against Megatrons real #s stipulating if V.D. had a “elite” QB. So you’re saying Stafford is elite? Otherwise you’re using personal bias to prove your point that V.D. is elite . Because if you admit Stafford is not elite you can’t fudge #’s to compare V.D. to Megatron with out prefacing that Megatrons #s would also explode with a “elite” QB. Do you comprehend this ? Wow! And if you actually believe that Stafford is a “elite” QB than double Wow!!

            1. Megatron is a better receiver than Davis. Megatron puts up Megatron numbers without an elite quarterback. But Megatron and Davis play different positions.

              1. Bad comparison. The 49ers run the ball more than any other team in the league. With the defense they have, the offense is predicated more on ball control. Especially with a QB still learning the position. You know this.

                Matt Stafford, while not elite. Is still a very good QB. That offense played from behind on more than a few occasions last year. The Lion running game is so-so, and other than Pettigrew, that team doesn’t have much out side of Johnson in the way of pass-catchers.

          2. Wow Richard Wagner, you just took little boy Grant to school. You can look at this kid (and his father) and see they probably throw a football like a 6 year old girl and have never played. Always omits facts to make his point. Additionally, although Kap got us further than we have been in 20 years to grant he is a choker lol (kids played a season and a half and balled) but Vernon Davis who gets thrown around and chokes every game vs the Seahawks. Vernon Davis is a ghost vs Seattle so is he a choker? Also he is fast, but Vernon has terrible hands, no fluidity, can’t go up and catch the ball against defenders and constantly leaves his feet to catch passes when he doesn’t need to.

        5. Davis should be penalized for breach of contract, bad ego, poor sportsmanship, horrendous leader and team player, for being an extremely bad example to the nfl, the fans, the 49ers and good Christians (as he claims to be) alike. But no, not for a system that doesn’t pass as often as Denver. That may be the only thing he shouldn’t be penalized for I suppose.

        6. 34th most accurate passer?? Only 32 teams in the nfl, man this kid needs to go back to football school.

        7. At the time VD signed his contract he was the highest paid TE in the league. He is still one of the top 3 highest paid TE’s. He should honor his contract and start negotiations next year when he will have 1 year left. BTW, it’s very diffuclt for teams to silence Jimmy Graham. VD just disappears at times.

      2. He never use his hands. He runs like 2 or 3 routes??? Not the best TE in the league, but has played good for US. If he wants to leave then see you later… We’ll move on.

      1. He had a huge TD in the 4th quarter in GB and another big TD grab the next week in Carolina, but yeah he did absolutely nothing in the playoffs.

        1. 5 catches for 54 yards last season playoffs, 2 catches for 16 yards against the Hawks, yea he deserve another 50 million.

          1. 2 of those catches were key TD’s and his production against Seattle, as low as it was, doubled what Jimmy Graham did the week prior up there.

  1. Ridiculous! Vernon had his best year in 2013, but even so his statistics would not have been nearly as grandious if it were not for Crabtree missing half the year, AJ Jenkins being a complete dismal failure, Patton being injured, and thus Kaepernick no one else to pass to but Boldin and Vernon. Davis is fully aware he is not likely to ever have a repeat performance, now that Kaepernick has a healthy Stevie Johnson, Crabtree, Boldin, Patton, McDonald, and a fleetfooted Ellington. Being south of 30 means he likedly wont be worth much at all when his contract ends in two years.

    More importantly, contracts are binding and at will only when both sides agree to change them. Why would Baalke ever be willing to bend to his pressure. Has Baalke ever done so before? No. Even when Gore’s agent threatened to hold him back in the off season, it was Gore that pressured his agent to get a deal done. Davis should be more like Frank, less like Vernon.

    1. He plays for the offense that attempts the fewest passes in the league, and his quarterback is one of the least accurate passers in the NFL. Those two factors limit Davis’ production immensely. He would put up Megatron-numbers on the Packers.

      1. I doubt he would actually. He’d still get a lot of attention from defenses, and on a team like the Packers Rodgers would still go for the favourable 1-on-1 matchups that are created. He sure would make that offense extremely tough to defend though.

        1. And I should clarify, the reason he wouldn’t put up Megatron like numbers is because when he is covered, he rarely makes the play. Megatron on the other hand can be triple covered and it doesn’t seem to matter. That’s because unlike Vernon he has exceptional ball skills, can move laterally, and has the ability to adjust and contort his body when the ball is in the air.

        2. Davis still would get targeted about 20 percent of the time like he was last year, and like Graham was last year. But Davis would get more total targets on the Packers or Saints or Broncos and he would play with a more accurate quarterback, so his numbers naturally would go up.

          1. 20% of targets is a lot in a quality receiving group. More weapons around him would result in a lower % of targets I would expect. Yes, I think his numbers would go up overall, but not to Jimmy Graham or Megatron like numbers. Those two players are natural receivers, and led their teams in receiving numbers last year. Vernon would probably be the 2nd leading receiver for most teams, including the Packers, just like he was last year for the 49ers.

            Vernon is a natural athlete that stretches defenses with his speed and athleticism, but he’s not a natural receiver.

            1. Davis induced a 127 rating last season while getting 20 percent of the targets. He would continue to get 20 percent of the targets on any offense as long as he continued to induce a passer rating greater than 110. Davis doesn’t have to be a natural receiver to kill safeties and post huge numbers.

              1. Having one quarter of his catches as TDs has a massive impact on the passer rating when he was targeted. Around one in 6 passes that came his way was a TD.

                In another offense, there would be more targets to throw TDs to than the 49ers had last year, which would bring his TDs per target down, which would bring the passer rating when throwing to him down, unless they also reduced the % of times they throw to him.

                I think in offenses like the Packers, Saints or Broncos he’d see a % of targets closer to Thomas than Graham. Somewhere around 15%. He’d be used as a decoy a lot to clear out defenders. But I doubt he’d be the team leading receiver, which you believe he would be.

              2. Perhaps another way to look at it is, do you believe Davis is a better receiving TE than Shannon Sharpe, who was also known for creating similar types of mismatches with LBs and safeties. Tough call, but really not much in it. Sharpe definitely had better hands though. He was a natural receiver to go with his speed and strength. Lets call it a wash. Yet Sharpe never put up Jimmy Graham or Megatron like numbers, despite playing in some very good offenses.

              3. Yes, I believe Davis is better than Sharpe. Davis is bigger and faster, more of a downfield threat, more of a scoring threat, more dangerous, more stressful on a defense. Sharpe never caught more than 10 TDs in a season.

              4. Like hell! I’m gonna tell you right now VD is NOT a natural pass catcher, while Scooter is correct. Sharpe was A++ in that regard….

              5. Grant, I have to disagree with you there. Davis is the better athlete (though not by that much – Sharpe was an exceptional athlete too), but Sharpe was a better receiver. Good hands and good route runner, to go along with fast and very strong and explosive for his size. I was happy to give it a wash for the sake of argument, but claiming Davis is better than the 2nd leading receiving TE in history is too big a leap for me.

              6. Sharpe played with a great QB and got a ton of targets, so of course he has high stat totals. But he still never caught more than 10 TDs in a season and never averaged 16 yards per catch. VD has caught 13 TDs twice on a run-first team. I believe it stands to reason that he could post a 17+ TD season if he had John Elway or Drew Brees or Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. I believe Davis could post a 18+ ypc season with one of those QBs throwing to him, based on his playoff stats.

                I believe an 80/1440/17 season would be possible for VD if he had an elite QB.

                Megatron’s numbers last year were 84/1492/12.

              7. Sharpe also played with some good receivers around him, taking many of the targets he’d otherwise have gotten if he played in an offense like Davis last year. Sharpe also played in offenses that didn’t face 8 man boxes almost all the time. Easier to put up high ypc when teams aren’t defending you deep.

                You honestly think Vernon would average 18 ypc on 80 catches against defenses primed to stop the pass? As the great Darryl Kerrigan once said, “tell him he’s dreamin’.”

              8. Defenses always are geared to stop VD in the passing game, especially in the deep passing game. They usually bracket him with the SS and either the FS or a CB.

                There was more than one play in the Division Championship game against the Panthers in which Davis drew three or four defenders when Boldin AND Crabtree were on the field. Sharpe didn’t get that kind of attention.

              9. Sure, they cover him, but the defenses are more geared to stop the run than the pass. That is why play-action deep passes are so effective for Davis. He wouldn’t have that if teams geared themselves to stop the pass. He averaged 16.3 ypc last season playing with a live arm like Kaepernick. That was 3 ypc more than his career average. Now you are saying on a team like the Packers or Saints he’d average 18 ypc over 80 catches. That’s quite the leap.

                I have to say I am very surprised you are now saying Davis is such an accomplished receiver. I completely agree with you that he is very important to the offense as a deep threat, and would be an important cog in any passing offense, but to suggest he’s of a calibre equal to Graham or Megatron as a receiver is hard to fathom. There are too many holes in his game as a receiver.

              10. He has holes, but Davis gets it done. His size/speed advantage over safeties rivals any mismatch in football. He’s also a much, much better blocker than Graham.

              11. How is being a better blocker than Graham going to help him catch more passes and average 18 ypc?

                I’ve never suggested Davis isn’t the most rounded TE in the NFL. I believe he is. I just don’t believe he’s the best receiving TE, and I don’t believe if you put him in the Saints offense he’d do better than Graham.

              12. He’s the best tight end. He would average more yards per catch than Graham and score more TDs than Graham if Davis were the Saints’ TE instead of Graham.

              13. “He’s the best TE”. Yep, I agree with that. He is very good as a receiver and blocker, which sets him apart from guys like Graham or Gronkowski that are great pass catching TEs.

                “He would average more yards per catch than Graham”. Quite possible. Graham is used as more than just a deep threat – the Saints use WRs to stretch the D, not just the TE. Graham is adept in the short passing game as well as the deep passing game.

                “And score more TDs than Graham”. Highly debatable. Graham has averaged 12 TDs a season the past 3 years, Vernon has averaged 8 TDs. Graham is 4″ taller, making him a great red zone weapon. Hard to see Davis being a bigger factor than Graham in terms of TDs.

                I also don’t think Davis would catch as many passes as Graham, as he’s not as accomplished in the short passing game.

              14. Graham plays with one of the most accurate passers in the NFL. Davis caught TDs more frequently than Graham last season.

              15. By more frequently I am taking it you mean per reception, because Graham caught TDs more frequently on a per game basis. Catching TDs more frequently per reception is a consequence of playing on a team with limited receiving options and that relies largely on the running game for yardage. Graham was more involved than Davis between the 20s, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise he has a lower TD % per target.

              16. Davis is involved in every passing play. He draws the most attention and gets one-on-one matchups for Crabtree and Boldin, Pro-Bowl receivers. Davis and Graham affect the game in different ways, but Davis has a bigger impact.

              17. I think it was pretty obvious I was talking about targets and receptions when I referred to involvement, but if not my bad. If you want to go the way of drawing attention, Graham also draws a lot of attention because he’s also too mobile for LBs to cover 1-on-1 and with his height he’s too hard for DBs to cover on their own. So both guys are heavily involved in their team’s respective offensive plans.

                But again, how does Davis drawing attention from underneath guys help him average 18 ypc over 80 catches? I’m not arguing his importance to the team, I’m arguing his production would not be as astronomical as you suggest playing for another team.

              18. He’d have a QB with a strong arm who also throws with anticipation and accurate ball placement. He’d get to catch many more passes in stride. Kaepernick doesn’t see Davis breaking open a lot of the time, and Kaepernick often throws too late.

              19. Brees had 27 completed passes where he threw the ball 20+ yards through the air, on 72 attempts (37.5%). Four downfield attempts per game, with less than 2 per game successful. Of those 27 catches, only 8 went to Graham.

                Kaepernick was 14 of 46 (30%), with 9 of the 14 catches going to Davis.

                The accuracy difference on the long ball isn’t as great as you suggest. Yes, Brees airs it out more often, but goes to the TE less often as the Saints also use their speedy WRs to get downfield, like Stills and Meachem. You think putting Davis with Brees will result in Davis catching how many additional long passes? I find it hard to believe they would stop going to the outside WRs on those plays to give Davis more deep targets. Unlike the 49ers, they don’t need Davis to stretch the field. They can spread it around. And I doubt they’d be throwing it deep much more than 4 times a game on average. That is a lot.

              20. If Davis played for any of the elite QBs with good, creative offensive minded coaches, he would put up amazing numbers.
                Put him on NO with Brees, or NE with Brady, or GB with Rodgers and his production goes through the roof. Even with defenses geared to stop him, he will still get the ball because the better QBs know how to anticipate better then one read Colin right now.
                Maybe we didn’t run a lot of multiple WR sets because that requires more progression reading. And maybe the coaching staff feels this i Kaep’s year to finally be a good pocket passer.
                Sounds like Blair Gabbert is having a pretty good camp so it Kaep goes down, things won’t be so bad. Maybe they do the opposite QB switch this year. Instead of bring Gabbert into run a read option, we bring him in to actually run a play that requires a QB to make multiple reads.
                There – I said it!

              21. The main problem with your argument here is that those other guys have better pass catching skills than Vernon. Graham can high point the football (and does quite often, making Brees look good). Davis cannot.

          2. Grant, it’s your prerogative to continue writing two Vernon articles a day… I just haven’t seen one person on this site or any other agree with you that Vernon is 1) the best TE in the game, and 2) his no-show should be rewarded with a new contract.

      2. Agree. As you pointed out in your last piece the stats don’t tell the whole story when it comes to Davis’ effectiveness in this offense.

      3. The same thing could be said about Crabtree too and that is why he deserves big money. Vernon relies on athleticism to be a good football player and that is on the decline. He is not tony g. The only reason tony played for so long is because his route running and hands are way better than vernon.

        1. Davis’ athleticism is not on the decline. He’s only 30. He’s in his prime and he takes great care of his body.

          1. Please he drops too many balls
            Jumps for no reason
            Put his stats up against the hawks
            Over rated n he know stats will go down this year…
            Put him up for trade..
            See what we get for the “best” TE…..

          2. Pete is completely right. I love Vernon Davis but like I said as this contract he is on expires in 2 years he will no longer be a effective football player for the reasons stated above. He also isn’t long so he doesnt bail Kaep out like Graham or Gronk do

      4. That’s not true. In 2009, he had 78 receptions while being targeted 129 times. His stats were fairly similar to last years, despite having 26 more receptions. He only had eleven more receptions last year than in 2012, but his production was much higher. There is no magic formula. History shows that it is probable that his stats will substantially decrease this year with a healthy Crabtree and a deeper receiving corps.

      5. Grant ..
        seems you base almost everything on stats..
        and that’s cool, if you want to get a point across .. but ..
        not to pic nits, here, but .. while
        “Megatron” has stellar stats .. (as you alluded to),
        howsomever …how many
        NFC Champ games has Megatron been to ??

        (I mean.. played in .. not sitting’ in the seats) .. or ..
        more succinctly … how many playoff games has he been in ?

        Doesn’t that make stats a little meaningless ?

          1. Grant,
            you’ll get no argument from me on that score …
            heck .. one glance at my avatar and you’ll see
            that you’re preaching to the choir, here ..
            (I own a #85 rookie jersey that my family pleads
            with me to retire, fer gosh sakes)

            Bottom line … I need no convincing of the fact..
            that the Niners need Vernon …

            My only wish (here) is … you could be as persuasive
            in to him in convincing him to drop
            Fantex .. and GET BACK TO WORK !

            He’ll get his money .. of that I’m pretty sure

        1. I completely agree for that reason I think megatron is overrated. He plays on a team that is always playing from behind so its stat padding for him and Matt Stafford. I don’t think I would take Megatron over the two receivers on our 49ers if its 3rd and 8 in a big game

      6. I like your blog and think you write well. I think you are at your best when you talk to players and give us insight into how they tick.

        You have a tendency though to take a lot of controversial stands and go out on limbs defending them with selective stats, etc. It is sort of a black/white persepective on a lot of topics. A player/coach is either garbage or the best.

        I think your writing and blog might be a little bit more boring but actually higher quality if you avoided those more extreme viewpoints and the defending of them.

      7. I’ve ALWAYS agreed with everything you’ve said! I’ve been your biggest supporter in most cases. But breach of contract and team distraction due to another inflated ego? That’s Something the nfl absolutely doesn’t need anymore of! It’s wrong and ridiculous on so many levels!! And while niner fans are divided on many subjects(Alex smith) the vast majority of 49ers and nfl fans disagree with this for a good reason!!

      8. Can’t hide the fact that he has Allegator arms when defenders are near and won’t dive for any pass contributing to kaeps passer rating

  2. does he deserve a higher salary for this season? maybe, i haven’t looked at his salary for this season. but we’re talking about a guy who entered the league as the 6th overall pick in the pre-rookie wage scale era. before he played a down in the league he was the highest paid in the league and maybe even of all time. he then 4 or so years later was rewarded with another extension that put him at the top of tight end salaries. he has two years left on his deal and pulling this holdout move would be better received next offseason as opposed to this one. he has always been paid well by the 49ers.

  3. If he maintains his production this year there is a case to be made for renegotiation. However you can’t just cherry pick one year and make a compelling case for renegotiation with two years left on a fair contract; but I get it: If you take away the production from all the other years of his current contract he really does look like the best TE in the league and should be paid as such.

  4. Then he needs to do one year contracts .Skip the big cash up front . If not then be a man and honor your contract.

  5. Grant,

    Good job putting VD’s contribution in context, as Harbaugh has said many times about other players on the team,”Pay the Man”.

    1. I don’t think he deserves it any time soon. He was Alex Smith’s go to guy, for some reason he is not Kaeps. From what I saw, Kaep preferred Boldin or Crabtree. He benefited from a poor WR corp last season. I get it. He’s in his final stretch and he wants his money. He needs to take care of his body and wait until at least after this yr.

  6. Larry Kruger said it best. Vernon Davis knows that he’s reached his ceiling. His production is most likely going down from here on. So, while I don’t blame him, he wants to maximize his pay.

      1. Grant, you would have a better argument if Davis was holding out for a trade. He is not. He plays on a team that values the run and ball control more than they do the passing attack. So why should the 49ers pay him based on what he may do on another team with a different value system (none of which, in terms of the teams you mentioned, had a better record than the 49ers over the past two years)?

        You should take that argument to your boss and tell him that if you wrote for ESPN you would have a much bigger following and thus should be paid like that is where you work. Let me know how that goes.

        1. “You should take that argument to your boss and tell him that if you wrote for ESPN you would have a much bigger following and thus should be paid like that is where you work. Let me know how that goes.”

          Sorry Grant, that just made my day. Thanks for the laughs Dennis :)

      2. Razor or anyone who has been offended by my Seahawk articles DO NOT READ THIS article.

        Grant, I’ve changed my position on VD. MLynch showed up at OTAs on a show of good faith, & probably b/c he didn’t want to pay a fine. In PCs press conf. they asked abt it & he said “I knew he would” but declined to give financial details.

        Grant, I’m attaching this article dated Feb. 2014 after the SB on whether Seahawks can repeat. I didn’t think it was possible but after reading this article I’m not so sure.

        http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2014-02-05/seattle-seahawks-super-bowl-repeat-champions-winners-contenders-49ers-packers-panthers-broncos

        The only question JH has to answers is do I need VD to beat the Seahawks. And maybe VD brings more to the 49ers than what the stats reflect.

        1. VD really is a great TE and I do want him back, happy and helping us win, but Seattle is the one team that he hasn’t been a factor against, so in that regard, he won’t matter. Overall, for the season, yes, we would benefit greatly from his play, but I really think we will be okay without him if he chooses to continue to try extorting the 49ers.

    1. Nick— This is not directed at you alone but everyone ( which seems to be the standard today ) who has the same perspective. Well I do blame him. He is being unethically greedy. Why wouldn’t anyone blame someone for that unless that same nature is within them. They seem to have license to be greedy and unethical all the want but they are not going to get my approval. The type of perspective that he is displaying has far more negative consequence than can imagine.

      Grant- Davis may be all you say in respect to his value as a wide receiver but that really isn’t the point. The point is whether his actions in respect to his contract are justifiable. You say they are. You even try to rationalize his actions by comparing them to a teams ability to terminate a contract. Well any termination of any contract has to follow the terms spelled out by the contract itself. There opt out is part of the contract. It was written in for a reason. It protects the team from players getting up front guarantees and then coasting much like D Russel did in Oakland. That is the only protection the team has. The NFL created a problem with the nonsensical contracts that they wrote in the past. Most of the issues today are a reflection of them attempting to correct past mistakes. The main problem is that most of the people involved have ethics issue themselves so they have to wait until the repercussions hit until they realize when something is wrong. The Kaep contract is closer to something that might be an eventual long term answer. But people motivated by greed would fight tooth and nail to keep that from become common place. Greed prospers in an environment of corruption. Grant the fact that you see nothing wrong with Davis not living up to his contract and your rationalizations to justify it speaks to a lack or ethical discernment which is common place within your generation.

  7. I think it’s awesome that the Niners suddenly have the best tight end in the NFL. I’m curious though Grant; why did he suddenly become the best tight end in football? Oh, because he’s in a contract dispute with the 49ers! If he was in camp for OTA’s and all set to return for training camp would he still be the best tight end in the game? Doubtful. You’re just being your usual self. Anything to put the 49ers on the wrong side of any situation, right Grant?
    Did you ever voice this opinion before VD decided to express his dissatisfaction with his contract? You are so very transparent. SMH.

  8. grant…..this website is broken…..If I type in http://49ers.pressdemocrat.com/, and go to home, I get nothing after your June 5th entry. In order to find the new postings, I have to go through the 49erswebzone and click on individual articles. This can’t be my problem alone……my computer is a pc fully up to date ……. missing your postings especially with mini camp going on.

  9. Its possible Davis is already the highest paid tight end in football. You see, he got a partial advance on his 2014-15 salary in 2010 when he got his (insisted upon) front loaded contract.

    If you factor part of the 2010 pay advance to 2014-15, he’s already in the conversation for top three paid TEs. Now… If Vernon leveraged his 2010 pay advance wisely, he’s likely getting dividends or profits too. That could very well make him the top paid TE.

    Since he could already be the highest paid TE, perhaps the statement should be “Why Vernon Davis, already the highest paid tight end in the NFL, deserves to be paid far more then any other TE in the NFL by a HUGE margin.”

    1. Contracts aren’t guaranteed. Teams and players strike while the iron is hot in the NFL. Players have leverage and use it after an excellent season, and teams have leverage and use it after a player has a bad season. That’s business.

      1. Agreed. Its business. In a way its kind of funny. Vernon’s treating the 49ers the way NFL teams treat their namesake cities, network partners (and pool reporters)… “I’m already getting rich from our arrangement, but I have leverage right now so fork it over. If you refuse you are going to hurt more than I will.”

        You also did a great job the last few articles pointing out Vernon’s hidden productivity. He’s a unique athlete. Possibly the fastest true (not just a bulked up WR) tight end in history. There’s a reason why he was drafted sixth overall. (and why I don’t hold VMac to the same lofty standards).

        So what’s my gripe if I like Vernon so much (and I do)? When someone gets an advance on their pay, then whines about the small paycheck later, it leaves a bad taste. I want him to be honest about what he’s demanding.

      2. All we have to do is call something business to justify any action. As in the “God Father” it was nothing personal only business. Why do we get a pass on our ethics as long as it’s business. No one should get a pass at any time. You can not compartmentalize character.

  10. So you’re saying he’s the best but then switch it to the QB who is inaccurate and is why Davis numbers are low?

    You never seen Davis put up those numbers so how are you so sure he can? You also said the cowboys were going to be good and they flat out sucked like always.

    VD is good but isn’t great, his soft play is why he can’t take a hit, just because he can run fast doesn’t meant he’ll catch it, he dropped passes but I guess that’s the QB fault right?

    And you act like all these QB throw perfectly accurate and I’m sure if he was on a team like the packers they would game plan and take him out so guess what he’ll be a decoy once again. Anyways grant post these type of things for hits and it works considering we all speak up and give our opinions. But that’s the thing it’s all opinionated so no one will be right so can we move on from VD and talk about something else already, this has dragged on way to long.

    1. Don’t hold your breath on this one, ldhr. Grant found his new let-me-antogonize-49ersfans-to-get-internet-clicks material. Expect to see more of this for a while :(

      1. Yeah I know, I’ve been reading here for a long time. Don’t post very much, only from time to time. Just seems like it’s now getting to the point of making post that will make us mad just for him to get a bunch of hits. Miss the good old times where we had things to discuss and not focus on something that is only done to make us mad

        1. Yeah, I hear you. I really understand that this is his job and he has bills to pay. It just irritate me sometimes to know that the man is getting paid to antogonize the 49ers fanbase on a 49ers blog and he is not even a fan of our team . Man, I would love to do what he is doing on a Seahawks blog and get paid doing it!

          1. “It just irritates me sometimes to know that the man is getting paid to antagonize the 49ers fanbase on a 49ers blog and he is not even a fan of our team . Man, I would love to do what he is doing on a Seahawks blog and get paid doing it!”

            Ricardo, well said! You are not the only reader that gets irritated by Grant’s Modus operandi, but by reading his “work” and responding to it we are all helping him continue to get under our skin and get paid to do it. It irks me to no end and I’m sure Grant’s small, pandering fan club will say “Don’t read it go somewhere else” but unlike many of them, I have lived less than 5 miles from the Press Democrat’s HQ since before Grant was born and the PD was and has been my hometown paper since way before there was an internet. Grant’s insistence on acting like an annoying Seahawk fan just to annoy Niner fans does not make him popular here in beautiful Sonoma County and if there’s any justice in the world it will hinder and stunt his career growth. It isn’t necessary Grant, I believe you have the talent to do just fine in this business without alienating your readers with every other article you write.

  11. To be clear, I don’t think there’s a moral imperative directing Vernon to show up. As you say, the team could get rid of Vernon easily. Furthermore his window for earning this kind of money is small. He has to maximize his earning potential and look out for himself and his family first. Unfortunately for him the future may not be as bright as the present. The cap crunch is now with Kaep getting paid.

    That being said, you’re ignoring several facts. 1- Davis is well paid. It would be difficult for him to find much more money anywhere. He’s the 3rd highest paid te in the league.

    2- he was disproportionately important to our offense last year. But that was the result of Roman calling on him to cover for our lack of wr’s. That won’t be the case this year unless something catastrophic happens in camp. We brought i. another good veteran, drafted an exciting wr and we are much healthier at the position. Davis won’t be needed to the same degree next year.

    3- Flip that around to the defensive perspective. In the previous article you cherry picked some specific plays highlighting how Davis helped to open coverage for other receivers. Your point is that Davis is such a big deal that opposing teams develop a game plan revolving around him. But that was last year. Go back and read the last point. Davis was the focus of our adversaries because he’s a big threat. But that’s also a function of the players around Davis. We were so thin at wr that it’s only natural that they would blanket him. Again, that won’t be a problem next year.

    4- if Davis was such a big deal, if he was really as dangerous as you suggest why did we face the most 8 man boxes of any team in the NFL? The fact is the bigger part of our opponents defensive game plan was stopping Frank. Davis failed to get teams to move their safeties out of the box.

  12. Grant:

    Why are you so obsessed with Vernon Davis? Did someone trick you into buying shares of his Fantex stock?

    1. A nonsensical statement, stat geek argument and a shot taken at Kaepernick.

      Grant outdid himself with this one.

    2. Did someone trick you into buying shares of his Fantex stock?
      ————
      On margin.

  13. This argument is stupid. These are 2 separate issues. VD is in the group of elite TE. Which one you think is better depends on how your team is built. Contract values , in all sports, depend on timing. You are only the highest paid until the next player signs, then the agent negotiates upward. If VD always wants to be the highest paid, he needs to produce at the highest level AND sign a series of one year contracts. That’s how it works.

  14. All of this debate is a moot point because if Davis doesn’t play this year he is only hurting himself. Yes, he’s a highly valuable player, but when the fines pour in and his teammates aren’t on his side anymore and he’s sitting out a season he’ll end up looking like T.O. When he shows up he’ll have to earn his roster spot. But if he comes back with rusty hands or not in “football” shape (we know he doesn’t take hard hits well) we’ll see other WRs and players getting opportunities to make plays which will make him a forgettable guy.

    Winning is not about one guy, it’s about everybody stepping up. We’ve won and lost without him before, and we’ll do it again. He appears to be a none factor against Seattle and that’s our biggest hurdle.

    I of course want him here, but we’ll see how that plays out!

  15. This is so stupid. Vernon is rich and he’s got two more years of being the 3rd highest paid TE in the game. He better get used to it because nobody in their right mind would tear up this contract to extend a guy who will otherwise be a speed-based TE at the age of 32. Good luck keeping up these stats in your mid 30’s when you can’t break tackles or excel against physical defenses in your prime.

  16. All of this will be moot when the financial structure collapses. We are living the parable of the goose that laid the golden eggs. Everyone has bought into the bill of goods that you can get what ever and as much as you want with out it having negative consequences to some one else. Actually the NFL seems to be metaphor for our economic system. The salary cap represents the aspect of limited resources which the economist were clueless about incorporating in there foundational principle for economics. When Peter takes more than he deserves it usually comes out of Pauls pocket.

  17. Uh-oh, now we enter one of the most dangerous times of the year: these guys have 4 weeks off. What could happen?
    Um, does this mean 4 more weeks discussing Vernon on this blog? Barring any arrests, probably so.

    1. If the choice is this Davis ridiculousness or arrests, I’ll grudgingly take Vernon’s contract. Let’s hope the guys stay out of trouble.

  18. You make some tolerable arguments, but you continue to miss several central facts of NFL contracts. Frankly, I think you are doing so deliberately so that you can stir the pot, a tactic you no doubt picked up from Daddy. I’ll assume you really are missing them, however, and will explain them to you:

    Davis may deserve to be the highest paid TE in the game. I think that’s at least somewhat questionable, but there’s little doubt he has the talent to put up bigger numbers on a more prolific passing attack. Well, when he signed his new contract, he WAS the highest paid TE in the game. The natural progression of contracts is that later contracts will outstrip earlier ones, even if the player is not as deserving. Joe Staley is one of the better LTs in the league, certainly top-five over the past few years, but his base salary this year is 15th. Why? Because he signed his deal several years ago, and traded maximum value for longterm security. Davis did the same thing when he signed a five-year contract instead of a three-year contract. Unlike Staley, however, Davis is still one of the highest paid players in the league at his position, and figures to remain so for the next two years.

  19. Another flaw in the logic here. Percentage of production on a poor passing team doesn’t always mean greater success elsewhere. Opportunity for stats – particularly for a TE – cannot be understated. Let’s consider another “great” Bay Area TE: Zach Miller.

    In 2010, Miller accounted for 21% of attempts, 26% of completions, 28% of yards, and 30% of TDs on the Raiders. Was he the best TE in the league when he put up those numbers? Subsequent history would suggest otherwise.

    1. Yep. Grant picks a bunch of meaningless stats and tries to manipulate them to fit his agenda, while ignoring a lot of obvious factors. Another flawed argument.

  20. Last year, Solomon Patton caught 57% of the Florida Gators’ touchdowns and held 45% of all receptions by their wide receivers. Jeff Driskel, Tyler Murphy, and Skyler Mornhinweg’s combined passer ratings were over 30 points higher when targeting Patton.

    By Grant’s definition, Solomon Patton must have been the best wide receiver in the SEC! Mike Evans? Get outta here. Odell Beckham? Please. Jordan Matthews, Bruce Ellington, Jarvis Landry, Donte Moncrief…..all scrubs compared to Solomon!!!

  21. Vernon Davis has two years remaining on his current contract. He’s also the 3rd highest paid TE in the NFL. Nobody forced him to sign a 6yr extension in 2010 with a $10 million bonus and $23 million guaranteed.

    Davis leverage is that he will destroy whats left of his career by sitting out the next two seasons? This will end with Davis playing two more years for SF under his current deal.

  22. I think Pat Kirwan is spot on.

    “When it came to yards after the catch (YAC), Davis was ninth among tight ends. When it came to moving the chains and creating first downs, Davis was 10th. In converting third downs into first downs, he was 14th. In critical situations like fourth-quarter receptions, Davis was the 30th-ranked tight end in the league.

    Granted, the 49ers are a run-oriented team, but Vernon was targeted 98 times during the regular season and playoffs. In that Super Bowl against the Ravens, he was excellent in catching six of the eight balls thrown his way for 104 yards and five first downs, but how did he do in the 2013 playoffs and how did he deliver against the division rival Seahawks in recent years?

    In his past five games against the Seahawks, he was targeted 12 times and caught only eight passes for 84 yards and only 19 YACs with one touchdown. In three playoff games this past January, he was targeted 14 times with five receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns and only 6 YACs. I would think a $7.35 million average salary is in line with his production recently.”

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/writer/pat-kirwan/24578741/vernon-davis-not-doing-himself-any-favors-with-49ers

    1. Davis’ low number of 4th quarter receptions may have something to do with the 49ers throwing the 3rd fewest passes in the league in that quarter.

      1. How many times did the 49ers have a lead in the 4th quarter? Makes sense for good teams(especially ones that like to run) to have few passes in the 4th quarter because they’re running out the clock with a lead.

        1. Good point. Have to put context to the numbers. I haven’t looked it up, but it seemed to me there were a few games where I could count the second half passes on one hand.

      2. “May” is the key word. The only numbers that matter is the number of years he signed for and the fat contract that made him the highest paid 3 years ago.

    2. I think Pat Kirwan is spot on.
      —————————–
      He usually is. I’ll take the word of someone who’s worked in the league as a scout and GM over any internet hack.

  23. You make a good case for Davis. If he is the best paid TE in football, it won’t be for the 49ers. They can’t afford him. Maybe he can be the best paid TE in football for the Jags or the Raiders. Then when he has 110 mil in the bank instead of 90 mil, he can enjoy looking at his empty trophy case.

    1. Thanks Mary. Brian Jennings (a friend of Vernon) spells it out nicely…
      “Go Play Football.”
      “I think he’s making a mistake because he’s one of the highest paid guys for his position.”
      “His base salary is $4.7M. Add on his prorated signing bonus of $1.6M.”
      “He’s not underpaid.”
      “Go to work, help your team, lets go win a super bowl.”
      “The 49er can’t pay their TE position any more money.”
      “Vernon their not going to pay you, so how much damage are you doing for yourself, and your money, and your relationship with the team?”
      “He’s not underpaid, their not going to pay him more, so what are you doing?”
      “I think his premise in inaccurate and he’s making a mistake.”

      1. Thanks Brodie. I went back and forth on VD & MLynch and now I don’t think either one should get a raise.

  24. Grant….. You can manipulate the stats all you want. Does Bree’s have more targets? An would you take Davis over graham? I’ll bet you’ll say yes just to keep your point.
    Plain and simple truth here youngster.
    I’m suprised your dad didn’t teach you these things in life.
    1 you make a deal… You don’t welch on it when it’s not good for you later on.
    2.. Put others before yourself, in life at times and especially on a TEAM!!!!
    3… Finish the job. Never quit!!!

    It’s this simple youngster. He signed the fat contract and was happy with what was in the contract. He was overpaid IMO when he signed it. Now he wants to back out of the deal for himself. How you or any dignified human can support this selfish move blows my mind. You have slowly lost credit with fans by writing straight garbage about the team we route for. I liked it before when you were straight and truthful about the 49ers flaws, and then I realized you never wrote about the good points. Fans would come on and call you a mini Cohn that thrives in controversy and negativity. I always had your back. And said you “kept it real” but the last two years have shown that what they have been saying is becoming true.
    It’s pathetic that you have to write this way. You aren’t even close to MM or MB when it comes to class or just football inside or football knowledge.
    I guess it goes to show how ANY so called “fan” can look up stats and come on here and manipulate the truth and the game with numbers. Not only that you have a loser way of looking at life. Again I’m shocked your parents didn’t teach you about what’s wrong with what Davis is pulling. Grow up and be your own writer. All respect for you is down the drain. It may not bother you, and that’s fine. But when more and more people are saying the same thing about you…
    It must be true. Take a step back and look up to REAL football journalist’ and reporters to better yourself. ESPESIALLY when writing for our team. This page has turned to garbage.

  25. So Michael Vick is quoted as saying how he started it all with running QBs.
    Sigh. Doesn’t anybody have a sense of history? Never heard of Randall Cunningham? Slash? Roger the dodger Staubach? Scramblin’ Fran Tarkenton? Hell, Bobby Douglas wasn’t a good QB, but he sure ran around a lot. Go far enough back and look at Frankie Albert and Billy Kilmer.
    C’mon, man.

    1. He also said he didn’t kill any dog personally either. Don’t make it true, an it doesn’t make him relevent. The idiot can’t even refrain from running the third base after a charity softball home run.

      1. Sure, Steve should be on the list. Joe had great wheels too. Elway was fast when he was young and could scramble some.

    2. Brotha,
      Nice list.
      There were other QB’ that could do a little running albeit having short-lived careers who hardly registered on the NFL meter.

      Joe Kapp – CFL / NFL career known to make a few helter-skelter runs.

      Eldridge Dickey – drafted by the Raiders (was picked before Stabler) never really had a career.

      Marlin Brisco – drafted by Denver as a QB and finished his career as a WR/ST player.

      Not sure thathe qualifies as a running QB, but Jim Plunkett often ran the option for Chuck Fairbanks for the NE Patriots.

      1. I remember that Plunk ran well in college. I didn’t recall him running the option at NE.
        Did he and Fairbanks have a Alex/Nolan relationship, LOL? And Kapp was feisty and fearless and more than once I saw him throw a short TD pass that went end over end!
        Y.A.Tittle was a single wing tailback until his Sr year in college, so he could scoot in his youth.
        Just to be fair and balanced, remember Johnny U. In those clunky black high tops? Perhaps just a tad slower than Vick and CK I’m thinking.

        1. Brotha,
          Ha! Johnnie U. did plod around on occasion but against the defensive players of his era, he actually looked like he had some wheels (lol).

  26. Why does anyone read anything the Cohn’s write anyway? Because you know the content is the same every time. The Niners organization is doing something wrong……every single time.

  27. The Niners are not going to pay Vernon another dime above his current salary.

    Why? They don’t have to. Who does it hurt more if Vernon decides to hold out this season (and perhaps next)?

    Vernon turns 31 in January and he agreed to a contract that keeps him with SF for another two seasons.

    For those that pointed to the lack of 4th qtr passes etc. Well, by that logic what value should the Niners place on a TE when they throw the ball less then other teams etc.

  28. Sorry Grant, but the stats argument doesn’t generate sympathy for a guy who is in the top 5 in terms of pay for TEs and currently has the second highest salary on the 49ers squad.

  29. Vernon is the 3rd highest paid TE in the league…all things considered, that’s about right. So, it doesn’t matter what stats you put out there, the facts are his timing to hold out is atrocious when you look at the bigger picture. Not only does Baalke not have the cap room to give Vernon a raise, but there are more deserving teammates. This “my brand” crap is just that…nobody cares about his brand, only that he live up to his contract. Maybe when he’s in the last year of it the Niner FO can get something done, but not now. Again, his timing sucks and it’s showing a reversion to “it’s about me, not the team”.

  30. I think he just wants to be the top paid TE. If someone else gets a new deal that pays more, he wants a new deal. There is no “favored nations” clause in Vernon’s contract. He needs to get over it.

  31. Congratulations on getting folks to rip the most productive postseason offensive player for the 49ers over the last 3 years.

      1. I’d put him up against anyone. He’s been the best all-around TE hands down the last few years.

        1. I agree he’s the best all round TE in the NFL, in terms of blocking and receiving ability.

          As a receiver he does something no other TE does as well as him – put pressure on a D deep. His deep speed is second to none in TEs. But in terms of hands, route running, ability to high point a ball, ability to adjust in the air to a ball, and ability to get open on shorter routes, there are better TEs.

          Gonzalez and Gates in the their prime were, in my opinion, better receivers in every aspect aside from deep speed. Gates is still good, but I’d take Davis over him now.

          Gronkowski is a better receiver with that big frame of his and ability to get open and make tough catches. Jimmy Graham to me really is more of a receiver than a TE, and is a better receiver than Davis. Even without the same deep speed he is an equal threat deep due to his sheer length. Jason Witten has been an incredibly reliable target for over a decade in the short to intermediate areas.

          End of the day, the TE you’d take would depend on the offense you have. Unsurprisingly, the 49ers offense has been developed to revolve around and incorporate Vernon’s skills. But in Dallas a guy like Witten is equally important where their WRs are more the deep threats.

          1. Yeah. Harbaugh’s offenses have always been at their best with good TE play. Look at what he did in 2010 with Fleener and Ertz.

        2. And he was paid like it 3 years ago. So it makes it right for him to demand more money in the middle of it? Quit trying to spin the facts hammer. It’s chicken bleep and you know it.

            1. He’s among the best TEs in the league and among the highest paid, so………? He might be the best TE to fit SFs system, OK. Vernon is very good, that’s not the question to me, and yes, some of the criticism here of late is certainly flavored by fans irritation with the premature holdout, but his holdout is what brings the criticism. He’s invited it.
              One glimmer of hope:
              During Crabs’ holdout, MC Hammer was his supporter, and it worked out eventually in the regular season, despite Deion Sanders saying too much.
              During Vernon’s holdout, Jack Hammer is his supporter, and it may eventually work out, despite Grant writing too much!
              Ba-da-Boom!

            2. How is he the best TE? Why has he been nonexistent in the big games? You have to be consistent to be the best can’t flop from game to game.

              And how do you not care what he gets paid? He got paid already and we have more important pieces to sign and he wants to quit on the team because it’s hurting his brand? If he had a problem with the contract why did he sign it in the first place.

              Don’t make excuses and defend grants post just to stir things up and get hits. He shouldn’t he paid and the team will be better than having someone who doesn’t even have his teams back. All he wants is money and explains why his play is soft.

              For the best TE in the league I’m surprised he doesn’t showcase it and run people over fight for yards. Put up stats week to week. I know he’s good but he isn’t the best, and he already is being paid good, he needs to show up and work. It’s getting ridicous

              1. Stop with the silly big game stuff. Davis has 7 TD’s in 8 playoff games and has averaged over 22 yards per catch.

                How do I not care what he gets paid? Simple, I can separate the player from the contract stuff.

                Nothing gets fans to turn on a player more quickly than a contract squabble.

            3. Whether he’s the best in the league or not, it’s not right for him to pull this crap. It DOES hurt the team. That’s not a big deal for you? He’s wrong. Period!

            4. Anybody who thinks vernon davis is the best tight end in the game has the IQ of a turnip. No hands, uncoordinated in his movements, catches ball with body, jumps when he doesn’t need to, gets punked by Cam Chancellor, can’t fight for balls in the air. He’s all speed and when that’s gone, he’s gone.

            1. Really? Gronk’s blocking is fine, more or less equivalent to Vernon. They could both be system fits for each other’s teams. Vernon is faster but Gronk can make as many plays downfield. Both good after the catch, both good in the RZ.
              Who would I rather have? Vernon, because we can’t ignore the questions about Gronk’s health and availability. Gronk may be a slightly better OW, but not when he isn’t suited up.

              1. How much time has VD spent out on injury vs Gronk? I could be wrong,(there was once in 1949) but in my memory, the last team standing is almost always the one with the least injuries at seasons’ end. With all of these big fast men running into each other several times each Sunday, it’s a virtual ‘crapshoot’ who and how many get dinged. The ‘niners have been very fortunate for the last couple of years (excepting Bowman). ‘Better say a novena….

            2. Gronk is far better than VD everybody knows that. These “guys” attempting to talk football should stick to reality tv and ice skating.

  32. Grant, you don’t pay a guy based on how well you think he would do on another team. If that were the case, every player would negotiate by saying “I’m great under the right circumstances, so pay me top dollar.”

  33. Grant – It appears to me your fondness of VD began about 2 years ago, when VD was looking at a self portrait of himself on your laptop. You were alone with him outside locker room and his politeness won you over. Am I right? He gave you respect so now your returning the favor……Nothing wrong with that.

      1. Hammer – I think early in regular season 2012…..Why do you ask?….As Hillary or Harry Reid would say: “What difference does it make?” :-)

        1. Crab,

          Because right after the Seahawks Thursday night game that year is was all about how they needed to get him the ball more.

          1. Oh…ok…..I’m just trying to say I can’t blame Grant for liking VD.
            Reporters are human, If I was a reporter I would probably rip a player every chance I got if they dissed me…..Then pen is mightier than the sword. Lol

  34. This is going from ridiculous to sublime.

    Vernon has been great for this team and is a very good player but he’s not the best TE in the league and is down the list of receiving TE’s.

    Davis has excellent straight line speed but still doesn’t run very good routes, rounds off his cuts and isn’t sudden in his movements. He’s stiff and doesn’t catch passes above the shoulders and won’t win a battle for a jump ball.

    He excels when he can catch a pass in stride and use his speed to get around a defender, but he’s limited in what he can do and is nowhere close to the basketball power forwards who have changed the position,

    He’s an excellent blocker and a good receiver in certain areas, but he’s replaceable and already paid where he should be.

    1. Rocket Man – Who do you fear more in red zone with game on the line?
      Gronk, Graham or VD? I fear the Gargantua’s.

        1. Can’t argue with Vernon’s red zone production though. All three of those guys are good at that end of the field. But Gronk and Graham do have the length advantage to make those jump balls dangerous.

          1. Davis had a great TD year and I’m not trying to take that away from him, but this topic has gone off the rails when somebody starts arguing that a guy who can’t reach his arms over his head to catch a pass is the best in the game.

            There’s no middle ground for Grant. It’s how can I outdo myself on the outrageous proclamation meter.

            1. Its not just last year. He’s scored 44 TDs in 75 regular season games the past five seasons. That’s a good strike rate. Of course it is nowhere near Gronkowski’s or Graham’s.

              1. He’s made his catches count for sure, overall production however doesn’t put him in the class of the top receiving TEs.

                And yes I know part of it is due to the lack of attempts, but unlike some of the TEs in the equation, Vernon has never been his teams number 1 option in the passing game which is the biggest reason.

              2. No arguments from me rocket, I agree with you. He’s very good and an important part of the 49ers offense, but he’s not in the same calibre of receiver as Graham.

                As I said further down, its like saying Torrey Smith is better than Fitzgerald. I think Grant’s love of speed has come through again. He’s the fastest TE, and can expose teams deep, therefore he’s the best receiving TE.

              3. It’s not all about speed. It’s about production, efficiency and stressing a defense.

              4. If you watch the Saints play you’ll see that Graham is very productive and puts plenty of stress on a D, at all levels of the field. He’s Brees’ favourite target, teams try to take him out of the game, and yet he usually still produces.

                The games where he’s been less successful have typically been the ones where D’s have done everything they can to stop him getting into his routes and been really physical with him. Of course that leaves other guys open. Davis is no different – the best way to take him out of the play is to get really physical with him, disrupt him.

          1. Gronk is good? A steak from Sizzler is good but it’s still crap!…Gronk and Graham are the only elite TE’s in the NFL Jack. VD is in the 2nd tier group with Julius Thomas, Whitten and old man Antonio Gates….That guy from the Browns is damn good too..Cameroon?? I can’t remember his damn name…..I’m goin hot tubbin with the wife now brotha Jack….I’ll be back bro. It is Saturday night…..Party on fellas…I love you all!!

    2. To me an argument that Davis is better than Graham as a receiver is like saying Torrey Smith is a better receiver than Larry Fitzgerald. Yes, Torrey Smith is faster and a better deep threat as a result, and really impacts a defense, but no way you’d take Smith over Fitzgerald as a receiver. Fitzgerald is a complete receiver.

  35. Davis is invisible in games against the Sea hawks. He signed a contract and has been paid well. A 30 something player is not in position to bargain unless he is Peyton Manning.

      1. They ran the exact same route concept in the Dec game for a TD. They changed the formation up slightly to create more space between Davis and the flat defender.

          1. Yep. Davis having to come across the formation helped that. Good adjustment by the coaching staff.

  36. Smh. You don’t have to rip Davis to disagree with Grant’s over-the-top take. Moreover, you can agree that Davis is the best all around TE in the game and still disagree with the notion that he is underpaid or the 49ers should renegotiate his contract.

    Don’t let Grant drag you down into his quagmire.

    1. Stop shaking your head. There are plenty of comments about the holes in Davis’ game. When Grant, or someone else does the same thing about a 49ers player he’s being unfairly critical, but if a “fan” does it it’s ok.

      That was the point of my comment.

  37. The whole argument is stupid, really. The idea that VD would put up greater numbers than Graham, if he were traded to the Saints is complete and total speculation. There is no way to know for sure whether this would be true or not but you’re basing your argument on speculation and possibilities that most likely will never come to pass. It’s like saying “If I removed that McDonald’s and built a Burger King on this street, I know I’d make more profit.” Lol there is literally no way to predict .

  38. I keep reading comments about how Graham is better than Davis, and Davis doesn’t show up against Seattle.

    Both guys played in Seattle this postseason and as low as Davis’ numbers were they were double what Graham put up on half as many targets.

    1. Heh, I was wondering when someone would bring that up. Yep, the Seahawks shut Graham down – got in his face and played him physically. They went all out to stop him, and they did. Of course, that freed up Colston for a big day, and Brees still threw for 300 yards, albeit in a losing effort.

      1. Scooter, they got in his face, they got in his head and consequently shut him down. No one was suggesting he was more physical than VD, however even the agency team of Cohn/Hammer has to admit that Graham is a natural pass catcher and VD, albeit he’s put in a lot of work just to get where he is today catching the football, he will never be a natural pass catcher, no matter how much more you pay him…..

          1. No one said it was, but if you want your client to be paid as the number one, I’m afraid he’ll have to master the art of pass catching and route running…..

              1. That can’t be true. In the salary cap era each dollar counts, would you really be willing to “not care” if his salary prevented the team from making other meaningful acquisitions and or extensions?

              2. Coffee,

                I’m not arguing for Davis to get more money is what I meant. Even then, the difference between his current average salary and that of the top guy is only ~ $1.7M so it’s not a large increase like what we saw with Kaepernick.

          2. You CANNOT be the best TE in the game when you can’t catch the ball naturally with your hands. Davis has average hands but elite speed. He is not the best TE in the game. There is close to zero chance that the niners give more money to Vernon when there priority is to resign Crabtree. A healthy Crabtree going forward who is more important. I would not be surprised if Davis gets traded. I see big leap in development this year with Vance. A 30 year old 1 trick poney TE like Davis is replaceable. A great trick but his attitude is getting real old.

            1. “You CANNOT be the best TE in the game when you can’t catch the ball naturally with your hands. Davis has average hands but elite speed.”

              Despite all of that his numbers as a receiver are on par with those of the other names mentioned as being the best, and his ability as a blocker puts him on top.

              1. True, but it was still quite a bit better than any of the other TE’s that have been thrown out so far as better. No TE that graded out better as a run blocker than Davis had his type of receiving impact.

                Witten was close, but he averaged over 4 yards less per reception and had 5 TD’s less despite 27 more targets.

              2. His receiving numbers are not on par with those of Gronkowski (when healthy) or Graham. You can (and Grant has) make an argument that this is due to fewer pass attempts at the 49ers, but that ignores the fact that at the Pats and Saints they have had more talented supporting casts and spread the ball around more. Despite this, Graham is Brees’ favourite target, while Gronk has been highly successful turning targets into receptions due to his ability to box defenders out (something Vernon doesn’t do well) and make himself an easy target for his QB.

              3. Over the last 4 years Gronkowski has averaged 14.4 yards per reception while Davis has averaged 14.37. That seems pretty on par to me.

              4. The only trait VD has in his favor is straight line speed. He doesn’t have the height, hands, leaping ability or route running proficiency that the top tier TE’s do.

                He has never been his teams top receiver or target either.

                I hate that I’m actually having to argue against a player I like and enjoy watching, but there is no way he’s the same caliber of receiver as the others mentioned.

              5. You’re kidding right, Jack? One stat in line with Graham and Gronk and he’s on par with them?

                Gronk and Davis may have similar average per catch, but Gronk has a much higher receptions per target. I’m sure someone will try and argue this is because Brady is far more accurate a passer, but much of this difference comes down to Gronk making himself an easy target, and being able to make difficult catches more regularly than Davis.

                Davis is a big play guy. Gronk is a reliable target that can also make the big play.

              6. Brady’s completion percentage was 60.9 and his passer rating was 86.2 when targeting Gronkowski last season. Brady’s completion percentage was 60.5 and his passer rating was 87.4 when not targeting Gronkowski last season.

                Brees’ completion percentage was 63.2 and his passer rating was 112.8 when targeting Graham last season. Brees’ completion percentage was 70.0 and his passer rating was 102.5 when not targeting Graham last season.

                Kaepernick’s completion percentage was 63.4 and his passer rating was 127.5 when targeting Davis last season. Kaepernick’s completion percentage was 57.9 and his passer rating was 79.5 when not targeting Davis last season.

              7. I agree rocket. I’m a big fan of Vernon Davis, I think he is the most rounded TE in the NFL and easily in the top echelon of TEs in the NFL. He is a perfect fit for the 49ers offense, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise – the offense has been designed around the players.

                As a receiver he is very dangerous as a deep threat, but he is not a consistent producer, a good route runner, or a reliable target to compete for the ball like the others being mentioned. He’s a different type of TE.

                I have no qualms with an argument that says he should be paid like one of the top TEs in the NFL. Even paid the most. But he is already paid as one of the top TEs in the NFL, and has 2 years left on his contract, so I don’t think he has a good case for a new contract.

                I also have no qualms with an argument that he is one of the most important players for the 49ers, and as such should be paid like it. But then he already is. He’s the 2nd highest paid offensive player behind only Kaepernick.

                But I can’t agree with an argument saying he is the best receiving TE in the NFL, or that he’d put up Megatron-like numbers in another offense. He’s not that type of receiver. He’s a deep threat, and is a fantastic complement to a receiving group. He should be used as such, and is at the 49ers.

              8. Scooter,

                That’s a big number. Gronkowski gets targeted about 1 time per game more so it shouldn’t be a shock that he also has about 1 catch more per game.

                Their numbers are very close despite the shortcomings in Davis’ game as a receiver that have been mentioned already.

              9. Jack:

                It’s comments like those from CK=Elite, Real Neal and Jeff Zazueta that motivated my Smh comment.

  39. For 2014 — It’s obvious who the Niners need to beat: The Seahawks. VD is one of the better players and athletes on the teams, so theNiner chances of beating them are much better if he’s playing then on the bench. I don’t care what he did last year. We just gave KAEP this new contract, and he’s supposed to be better with more WR weapons and better RBS, so pay VD something, so he can have one of the better TEs in the game to throw to, or block for him. I don’t see the Niners beating the Hawks without him If the Niners win it all, then the merchandise sales will go through the roof so they can make the money back.

  40. There is a reason VD is doing this now,(shareholders)and he had a great 2013. Why? 2 starting wr’s that know the offense are hurt(Crab,Manningham). No Delaney Walker. So we were left with Vance the rookie, Patton the rookie and Boldin who was the only legitimate threat, but after week one got some double teams. It was a necessity to go to VD at that time. So the numbers were bloated for 2013. So like someone said earlier, numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Now, with healthy wr’s, Vance and Patton in their second year, let’s see if VD can have another year like this. Plus, unless I’ve missed a game, I don’t think I have ever seen VD fight for a ball in the air. I mean raised his hands above his head and attempt to snatch a ball out of the air using body position and hands(see Gates,Gonzales). He is simply a basket catcher and when he does jump,his hands are still in the basket position or at his head. I don’t have a problem with athletes holding out for fmv going into the last year of their contract, but not with 2 years left(if he was worried about changes in production and fair market value maybe he should have signed a 3 year deal instead). This all boils down to VD trying to satisfy his share holders because he spread himself too thin with that move and he is trying to take advantage of a circumstantial productive year. Repeat 2013, start fighting for the ballin the air then you got a case even still with a year left under contract. -Niner faithful

  41. It really does not matter if VD is the best TE ir not. He is under contract and the 49ers have no reason to renegotiate it unless if for a friendly extension.
    If VD hold out, so be it. They still have a good team and a shot to the Superbowl even without him. A worse shot, but still a good shot.
    VD on the other hand acomplish nothing holding out. He wont get paid this year and still will have the same contract next year, only a year older.
    There is really minimal leverage on VDs part, and this hold out seem pretty odd. It reminds me of Gore’s holdout few tears ago.
    In the enf he reported to TC and negotiated a reasonable extension.
    The same outcome seems a god bet this time again.

  42. PS, it is so unbelievably ironic and amusing to see Grant actually and adamantly arguing FOR a 49er player being the best in the league while a vocal majority of posters on the 49er blog heatedly argue AGAINST that player for best in the league. If a reader were somehow secluded and insulated to any 49er news for the last 2 weeks and then suddenly given a chance to read Inside the 49ers, they would think the poles were reversed and they had entered another dimension or something. It really feels weird. Cue Twilight Zone music.

      1. June 22nd = Football Purgatory : >)

        Naw, I think that was the day after the NFC Title Game!

    1. Bar Non,

      Oh, so true. So many here just take the opposite side of Grant’s position regardless of the matter being put out there, really silly IMO.

  43. Grant did you get the back and forth banter that you wished to get out of this write up? On to more important things.
    Like which WR’s we think we will keep and how many. RB carry distribution. Who will step up for our D line during Aldon’s suspension. Are there any bloggers sitting near Bayfan in section 9.

  44. So what happens when Vernon losses a step? I don’t want the Niners to be paying a 30 plus year old TE who can’t run routes and has suspect hands to block. Not smart Grant!!! We have made him the highest paid TE in football twice, once when he was drafted and again in 2010. We don’t owe VD anymore but he owes us two more years. So play or trade him I don’t care but don’t give him one more penny!

  45. Grant,
    Jumping topic here, but I forgot to ask if you had a chance to see Shane Skov last week?
    There are some bubble players coming into TC next month and I believe Skov is on that (well, my list) list.

    Borland will make the team, but I’m not convinced that players like Moody, Skuta and Skov are locks.

    1. Of the three, Skuta’s the closest to being a lock. He plays OLB, ILB, FB, and ST. Also rushes the passer very well.

  46. Here’s a Doldrums exercise:
    Contribute to the Score for the Vernon Holdout Saga:
    (Mine)- “Loan Me A Dime” – from the Duane Allman Anthology Album.
    Who’s next?

      1. Thar ya go.
        Umm – “Taking Care Of Business”
        – “Money, Money, Money!”
        – “Let The Good Times Roll” – Q’s Jook Joint Band w/ Ray Charles
        -OK, maybe not Penny Lane

    1. Here’s some old school from some Motown flavor.
      “First I Look At The Purse”
      The Contours 1965

  47. once again, you use a SHAMEFUL use of biased statistics to prove a contrarian point of view you support.

    yes, Davis gets lots of Touchdowns. Is that the only basis you want to use to prove your point? What is Davis’s OVERALL grade at TE? I honestly don’t know…but I suspect he isn’t THE TOP RATED TE.

    Here’s an interesting bit of info. Davis ranks 27th in drop rate. He ranks 23rd in TD+First Downs.

    You assume Davis would “put up Megatron like numbers” if he played in another offense. That overlooks that fact that other TEs run better/more flexible routes, are better at catching inside (banging for contested catches) can jump up for the high ball…etc….

  48. Vernon Davis is 30 years old, and is already being paid like a top 5 TE. He lacks good hands, and the ability to get open on his own. Those are the 2 biggest things that older pass catchers rely on when their speed disappears.

    The 49ers arent going to pay Davis any more money than hes currently making. When he loses his elite speed, he will be a blocking TE who needs the ball placed perfectly into his chest.

    Anquan Boldin is an expert at getting open without speed, and catches everything thrown his way, which is why he is still a force at age 33. VD wont be able to extend his career the same way.

  49. Sure, Vernon is one of the top tight ends in the game, but the problem is, he wants to be paid as one of the top receivers, not tight ends. He’s already the third highest payed player at his position, so ask yourself… Is Vernon Davis the best RECEIVER in the game? Because that’s what his agent is going to demand?

  50. Yep, I think we all want Vernon back, whether he’s the best TE or not. He’s made his stance clear and I think if he just stops the public discourse BS and reports to camp the 49ers would be more than willing to sit down and talk. He might not get what he wants, or all he wants, but I think he would get a fair chance to pitch his case for a new deal to open ears. He deserves at least that, and I believe at this point he would get at least that. He should give HarBaalke the respect they deserve, and a chance to also pitch the team’s stance, and then both sides could make their cases behind closed doors. If after that VD thinks HarBaalke are being unreasonable, unfair, whatever, then he can continue to hold out until one side caves. I really hope this is what happens sometime before the end of August.
    Missing camp will only hurt VD’s cause, both contract wise and game production wise.

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