49ers offensive lineman Anthony Davis left the team over the weekend, without officially retiring. The designation won’t matter; he’ll owe the team the balance of the signing bonus money that he previously received in anticipation of future services.
Specifically, Davis owes $1.235 million for 2016. That figure represents 14/17ths of his allocation for the current year, since Davis was on the team for three weeks of the regular season.
The good news (is there is any) Davis earned $216,176 of his $1.225 million base salary for 2016, which originally was his base salary for 2015.
If he remains retired, he’ll owe the team another $1.5 million in 2017. That’s in addition to, per a source with knowledge of the situation, $1.667 million Davis repaid when he originally retired in 2015.
Unless Davis returns to the team and properly retires, he’ll be unable to play for the 49ers or anyone else in 2016. He has been placed on the exempt/left squad list, the team has sent Davis the so-called five-day letter, and upon the expiration of the five days he’ll be placed on the reserve/left squad list, which shuts the player down for the year.
That’s apparently fine with Davis, who as one source explained it simply isn’t inclined to endure the day-to-day demands of football season. It’s actually honorable that he walked away under circumstances that will force him to pay another $2.735 million on top of the $1.667 million he returned a year ago.
In 2015, Davis could have half-assed it and gotten cut, which would have allowed him for keep more than $4.4 million. In 2016, he could have milked the concussion that kept him out of two games, possibly resulting in placement on season-ending IR. Alternatively, Davis could have embraced his role as a backup, done the bare minimum, collected his full $1.225 million salary, and not paid back another dime.
Instead, he’s gone again. Once he lands on the reserve/left squad list, Davis won’t be permitted to play for the 49ers or anyone else this year. He could be traded to another team in 2017, but if he’s not inclined to play pro football in San Francisco it’s hard to imagine him ever mustering the will to play again.
It’s clear that Davis truly has no interest in continuing to play professional football. Unlike others who have walked away, Davis willingly will give back over $4 million for his freedom from the sport.