As 49ers tight end Vernon Davis stays away from offseason workouts not to get a new deal but to focus on building a brand that is now partially owned by the public via the flimsy (in my opinion) Fantex investment forum, Davis is helping Saints tight end Jimmy Graham get a new deal.
Or maybe Davis is only worried about Graham’s brand, too.
“He believes that he deserves more, and I believe that he deserves more,” Davis told ESPN regarding Graham, who’s caught in a franchise-tag fight with the Saints. “He’s just a wonderful presence. He’s a great player. He has a lot of potential to go above and beyond and just go further. He is one of those guys that is a part of that TE position that are changing the game — Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, [Rob] Gronkowski.
“Those guys are some fantastic players. If it was me, if I was the owner of the team, I would give the kid everything he wants because he’s that.”
More specifically, Davis believes Graham should be paid like a receiver, which is the gist of his pending grievance.
“If you’re a guy who’s catching a lot of passes and you possess some of the traits that wide receivers have, then yes, I agree,” Davis said. “I think that he should get paid like a wide receiver.”
So Davis surely believes he should be paid the same way, given that he previously told NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk that Davis sees himself as a receiver?
“I can’t speak for myself,” Davis said. “I’ll let everybody else do that.”
By everybody else, Davis possibly means his shareholders.
Everybody else who roots for the 49ers possibly wonders when Davis is going to show up for offseason work. He played coy with his status in his remarks to ESPN.
“If it’s mandatory, I think I should be there,” Davis said. “My foot could get stuck in the grass, and I may not be able to get out … but if it’s mandatory, I think I should be there.”
And while Davis recently linked his absence to an effort not to get a new deal but to build his brand (presumably by getting a new deal), Davis now is being vague.
“OTAs aren’t mandatory, so I don’t have to be there technically. I just decided not to go. I decided not to be there,” Davis said. “Everyone was just assuming I wanted a new contract. I just take it one day at a time. If they offer me a new contract, I’ll gladly take it. I’ll accept it.”
He’s better off admitting he wants a new deal. Otherwise, he creates the impression that he gladly forfeited a $200,000 workout bonus, 10 percent of which would have gone to his investors.
It could be that Davis also is concerned about creating the impression that he made a power play with the 49ers to get a new contract, and that he failed. Which wouldn’t be good for the brand.
So when he doesn’t get a new contract — and he likely won’t — he can say he never really wanted one anyone. Indeed, he just wants one for Jimmy Graham.