Nearly 10 years ago, the 49ers made tight end Vernon Davis a top-10 draft pick, prompting Davis to shed copious tears at his selection. On Monday, the 49ers said goodbye to Davis with a perfunctory press release that doesn’t create the impression of many tears being shed on anyone’s keyboard.
“On behalf of the entire 49ers organization, I would like to thank Vernon for his decade of contributions to this team and our community,” 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke said in a release. “Not only has he contributed to some of the most memorable moments in franchise history, but he has also positively impacted the lives of many others through his efforts in the community. We wish Vernon and his family continued success in both football and life.”
It’s nice. It’s appropriate. But it read like something the 49ers felt they had to say, not what they actually believe.
Davis made it to the Pro Bowl twice in San Francisco, but he hasn’t played well since generating 52 catches, 850 yards, and 13 touchdowns in 2013. The dip in his production (and the fracture in the relationship) possibly traces to his decision to skip the offseason program in 2014, as he tried in vain to get a new contract. Since then, Davis has a grand total of 44 receptions, 439 yards, and two scores.
The next question for the 49ers is whether they’ll be bidding farewell to other players before Tuesday’s trade deadline. The decision to move Davis means that the franchise has realized that the first year of the post-Harbaugh regime already can be abandoned. If other teams see other players that could help down the stretch, now is the time to call the 49ers.