Vernon Davis lobbies for Jimmy Graham to get paid

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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.

52 responses to “Vernon Davis lobbies for Jimmy Graham to get paid

  1. The more I read about this guy the more he seems like an absolute moron. “I can’t speak for myself”… Uh, yes you can Vernon, that’s kinda how speaking works.

  2. So if you get tired of this new contract after a couple years you’ll boycott that too?-live up to what you signed for first! As for Jimmy Graham, how much do you pay a tight end that doesn’t block?

  3. Unfortunately for Vernon, he believes he’s on the same level as Graham and will want to get paid like him. Sorry Vernon…you’re on the wrong side of 30 and you’re not even close to as good as Graham.

  4. How much do you pay for a TE that doesn’t block? Based on the production as a pass catcher, doesn’t that make the case that you would pay him like a WR who doesn’t block?

  5. Smart move, the more money the Saints give to Graham, then the more likely they won’t be able to compete at other positions so he any boost he can offer will dry up their remaining money pool just a tad bit more and every penny counts! Plus it could help drive up his negotiating position for his own personal money, that’s what we in the insurance business call a “double bonus”!

  6. I like the whole “I can’t speak for myself.” Everyone throws Richard Sherman crap after he says how good he is and I suppose if you need to tell everyone, you’re not actually that good. Kudos to you Davis.

  7. off the top of my head, davis is not used as a WR as much as Graham. Davis is often asked to stay on the line a block, set the edge etc… Granted he was practicing with WR’s last off season to work on his routes and timing with Kaep. Davis is a TE first and foremost who benifits from a system which often lacked depth at WR, so he was targeted more often. There are games when he’s not targeted much at all, and depending on scheme he may only see 2-3 passes his way.

    Every offensive skill position – the good players at least want the ball often. That shouldn’t penalize the team by asking for WR money.

    In the Saints case, Graham however does play more of a WR role, and does it really well. He’s not asked to stay in and block or do all of the things required of the traditional sense of TE. Colston came in as a TE when drafted and fully transitioned into a WR.

    There’s a new breed of TE’s today, but more than half of the league still has the old model; eventually, the salary for TE’s will rise because they are asked to produce in different ways. Graham is just stuck in this transition phase, so call it timing.

    At the end of the day, players should be paid on how they are used. We have Wr’s that exclusively play special teams. When their contracts are due, no matter how good they are at their role, despite being listed at WR, they will never sniff 10 million per season. As such, just because he’s listed as a TE, the Saints should pay up for what he does and how he’s used. Don’t short-change one of your best assets.

  8. I never liked that the nfl pays by position. U should be paid by how u impact your team. If u are an integral part of the team on either offense or defense, u should be paid accordingly regardless of the position.

  9. Davis may be a moron, that’s a question that seems to have growing evidence to support the claim. However, the TE position has changed radically over the past several years and the players he mentions are at the front of the change (although I would add Tony Gonzalez to the list even though he is freshly retired). The “receiver first-TE” has increasingly become a position vital to modern passing offenses.
    I really think there needs to be a new position designation for these players when it comes time for their franchise designation. One that reflects their impact on the game in a more honest and viable way.

  10. Vernon is perfectly capable of speaking for other people and the money they should get and what teams should pay their players, but he can’t speak for his own money and what his team should pay him?

    Go buy the Saints, become the owner, and then see how much you feel like paying Graham.

  11. Question: if Graham wins his appeal and receives money commensurate with WRs as opposed to TEs, will other TEs in future negotiations point to Graham’s contract to gauge their own value?

    The obvious answer is that they will. The Saints need list Graham as a WR if he’s going to be paid like one.

  12. On June 4th, the 49ers had $1.5 million left in cap space and then they gave Kaepernick his new contract. Where does Davis think the 49ers are going to get any cap space to give him a new contract? They are already so far above the cap limit, it is silly.

  13. STHU Vernon and get to camp… Already the 2nd highest paid TE in the game. You play scared against the Hawks on top of it. Your fault you took a front loaded contract and then joined that stupid fantex. As for Jimmy yeah he deserves to get paid… but Vernon is only saying this because of his own motive.

  14. It’s hard to blame these players for trying to maximize their earnings. They play a brutal sport and their careers could be end during practice.
    Sure, some of them do need to shut their mouths and some of them go about it the wrong way, but players trying to get as much money as possible and avoiding injuries in the mean time is a very reasonable thing.
    I mean, if practice and what not are so important for in season performance, and if a player matters so much that they will be played whether they practice or not, then their pay should reflect that value. Identifying that value can be an issue, which is another point where Davis get’s it right. It’s not for him to place a value on himself. H needs someone he can trust who will provide that accurate assessment. Just another reason why it matters who players surround themselves with.

  15. “I can’t speak for myself,” Davis said. “I’ll let everybody else do that.”


  16. Yeah, but list him as WR but still play him 40% of the time as a TE? There’s no way he catches 100+ passes and 1200 yards per season if he draws the a team’s best CB every game.

  17. pretty simple if you ask me-

    Team–“jimmy, are you listed on the depth chart as a TE?”

    Jimmy — ” yes”

    case closed.

  18. Dennis the 49ers have 6 mil in cap space but please do carry on your 49ers obsession. That June 4th article specifically stated that it appeared the 6.6 million from Carlos Rogers hadn’t been adjusted yet. It also hadn’t factored Bowman’s 2.6 mil restructure either and Kap’s cap hit is below 4 mil

  19. Ahem. The Saints have already offered to make Jimmy Graham the highest paid tight end in the NFL. They offered him a monster contract and he turned it down.

  20. if Graham wins his appeal,I’ll bet that the GMs and owners will stroll down to the coach’s offices and tell them to play every TE only in his position.

  21. More! More! MORE!

    Meanwhile, the average ticket to an NFL game is somewhere around $75.

    Cost for a family of 4 to see Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis do their job?

    $75 x 4 = $300 for tickets
    $20 = Parking
    $40 = Hot dogs and pepsi

    Somewhere between $350-$400 to watch a game riddled with commercial breaks and drunk fans in the surrounding areas screaming obscenities you wouldn’t need to deal with from your couch at home…

    Yeah…I think I’ll be sitting at home watching the game on my 106″ HD projection screen. Something tells me as these salaries/ticket prices get higher and higher more people will do the same.

    They haven’t hit the threshold yet, but they’ve got to be getting close.

  22. “topcide says: Jun 6, 2014 10:02 AM

    pretty simple if you ask me-

    Team–”jimmy, are you listed on the depth chart as a TE?”

    Jimmy — ” yes”

    case closed.”

    2nd question:

    Jimmy: over the last 3 years, am I top 5 in receiving yards and receptions in the NFL? Oh and did I lead the NFL in receiving TDs in that span as well?

    Team: crap.

    Case reopened.

  23. Vernon Davis = OVERRATED

    After 8 years in the league this is his average season:

    49.6 catches
    650 yards
    6.6 TDs

    And don’t ask him to block, because he can’t do that.

    Never understood the hype for this guy.

  24. Players in the NFL use pay as a sign of respect, Vernon understands that if Graham get his justifiable payday, that He as well will get his well deserved payday which would be used as a measuring stick between that two… its that same situation with the corners wondering and competing for the highest pay…so there shouldn’t be an issue in regards to this matter… again we give QB no flack when they want more to be respected as such and if we have a major contributor or impact player we should pay him as such…and wonder why players leave teams…Indeed…

  25. Shut up, Vernon. Oh, and Graham? You’re a friggin Tight End. You know how I know that? Because that’s what your position as which you are listed on the roster.

    If we want to discuss the NFL’s franchise payment system in general, that’s fine. But right now, the system is what it is. TE’s are now more like receivers. If you want to see them compensated differently as a result, CHANGE THE SYSTEM. This nonsense about how many snaps you took could be a nightmare if taken further. Pretty soon we’ll have RB’s arguing they should be paid like QB’s because they lined up in the wildcat a lot.

  26. As a huge 49er fan, I’m incredibly disappointed in VD…

    Come on man…TEAM!

  27. Everyone against Vernon and Graham is not in their position and i would guarantee that they would of done the same thing… take the dang fan shades off and put yourself in their position, and don’t tell me your going to take what they give you, your going to want what your worth, so if it worked for Mr. Sherman it should work for him and who ever has positively “Impacted” their team…Indeed…

  28. Vernon signed a contract, now honor it. Having said that, Vernon is a much better tight end than Jimmy Graham. Jimmy doesn’t even pretend to block. Vernon is the best blocking TE in the league

  29. He wants Graham to get paid big and set the bar for TE salary. In his mind, he thinks he’s better than Graham so he thinks he deserves to get paid more.

  30. I think he just doesn’t want to get hurt, like Crab did last May. This is worrisome because now that’s full fledged diva and concerned with getting hurt, he’s all but certain to dip his performance or get hurt. He needs to get past this, and get past it quick.

  31. To the poster implying that player salary has any impact on the price you and your family pay to see a live NFL game. For the millionth time NFL player salary is a fixed cost. The NFL out of all the major US sports has the most rigid salary cap. If a team wants to allocate 90% of the cap to one player and 10% to the rest they can do that but they can’t go above the cap. The only way the salary cap increases is if revenue increases. Revenue increase is normally in the form of big TV deals… how in the heck do you think one player signing a major contract impacts your ticket price?

    You want to know why NFL teams charge those prices? Because people are willing to pay those prices. It’s as simple as that.

  32. As a Seahawks fan, I have a lot of respect for Vernon. He is most always very well spoken and very complimentary and respectful of other players and organizations. In this case I’d rather him just come out w/ it. He is being coy and it doesn’t sit well w/ most people.

    I thought I saw that over the past couple years, he has been the 3rd highest paid TE in the league. If that is correct, I don’t think he needs another contract. He’s a top 3 TE in the league and it seems he’s getting paid fairly.

  33. Wow, sounds like Kam Chancellor has caused permanent dain bramage.

    The 49ers still have talent on that roster, but they’re standing on a foundation of sand right now.

  34. Vernon is preaching is brand, while the Head Coach of the Niner’s preaches team, team & more team!! After the way he played in last years NFC championship he should be willing to give back at least the paycheck for that game!! He might want to just take a step back & quit talking too the media!! Harbaugh doesn’t mind making changes at positions!!

  35. Instead of giving Jimmy Graham the TE franchise tag, he should have been allowed to go to the team that most valued him. Let the market place decide what he gets paid.
    The reality is that without the franchise tag, he could earn a much higher income and be paid like a top WR.
    Vernon has a vested interest in this and he knows precisely what he’s doing. The franchise tag should probably be scrapped.

  36. Vernon Davis is entitled to take good care of his own brand. He would be crazy if he doesn’t. Keep in mind that the Niners are doing the same, taking care of the Niners’ brand. If both of their interests coincide, then there will be a happy ending. But if the Niners think that taking care of Davis’ brand will hurt their own brand, then Davis may be heading somewhere else. Perhaps that is what he wants. He wants to force a trade if he does not get a raise.

  37. Tight ends are seen more as 3rd down, short yardage receivers who keep drives alive. Vernon Davis, for all his athletic ability and speed, does not catch Kap’s ball as consistently as needed to be the first choice on 3rd down throwing situations. The Niners brought in Stevie Johnson, why may fulfill that role, and they drafted Ellington out of college to go deep. Depends on how things work out in preseason, Davis may be slowly phased out of the offense over the next 2 years. He won’t get a raise, and he won’t get as many balls thrown his way. He may be used mostly as a blocker. If he holds out, then he would simply be fined.

  38. In light of the contract Kap just signed it certainly makes Davis look bad. Did someone up there actually say Davis can’t block??? The stupidity of some of the pft trolls amazes me. If you actually ever watch a game your likely to hear every game that he is one of the best blocking tight ends in the game if not the best. They literally say it every time the team is on TV and its not the same person saying it either.

  39. Davis shouldn’t have said, “If they offer me a new contract, I’ll gladly take it. I’ll accept it.” That is because if the 9ers asks him to take a paycut with a new contract, then he will have to take it or be called a liar. In any case, what he is doing has hurt his brand.

  40. If Vernon Davis thinks of himself as a receiver, then he should be paid about the same as Doug Baldwin of Seattle, a receiver who had a similar number of catches in 2013. Baldwin signed a 3 year $13 million dollar deal, which is less than what Davis is making. That means Davis shouldn’t be asking for more money, but he should offer to take a pay cut.

  41. Jimmy Graham ranks 13th among receivers in catches (86), 15th in yards (1,215), 32nd in yards per catch (14.1), but 1st in TD (16).

    Overall his average ranking is about 12-13. If so he shouldn’t expect to be paid as much as the 13th highest paid receiver.

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