Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Opinion: Everything that's wrong with the Vernon Davis holdout


There are a lot of things that bother me about the contract holdout of Vernon Davis.

Vernon made a commitment to the San Francisco 49ers, their front office, and his fellow teammates when he committed to a 5-year contract extension back in 2010.

Upon signing the deal, Vernon said:

“Being the highest paid tight end at my position says a lot but when it comes down to it I’m not playing the game for money. It’s about passion”

Well it seems that after four years, Vernon’s passion has run its course and now he wants to get paid, despite having two seasons left on his current contract.

Back in June, writing as a guest columnist for Sport Illustrated and Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback, Davis wrote:

“It’s all about getting paid what you deserve. It’s not that complicated. I want to be on the field this summer working toward that goal, but I have to worry about my future first.”

Prior to New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham agreeing to a monster multi-year contract extension on Tuesday (4-years $40 million, $21 guaranteed), Vernon Davis was the third highest annually paid TE in the league.

He mentioned in his MMQB article that he felt was “playing at a higher level than I was then (when he agreed to the extension)”, but it’s kinda hard to side with his argument when you compare his stats to those of the top three highest paid TE’s in the league.

Jason Witten from the Dallas Cowboys for example, has 356 catches the last four seasons while being targeted 504 times. Jimmy Graham has 301 catches (31 in his rookie season of 2010) on 470 targets while Rob Gronkowski, whom many view as the best tight end in the league, has 226 catches the last four years on 329 targets while batting a string of injuries.

Vernon the last four seasons has 216 catches while being targeted 333 times, and that’s despite missing 1 game the last four seasons.

Touchdowns you say? Well, let’s look at the four tight ends and their touchdown stats the last four seasons, and bear in mind that Gronk and Jimmy Graham’s rookie season was 2010:

Gronkowski:  50 games, 42 touchdowns

Witten:  64 games, 25 touchdowns

Graham: 62 games, 41 touchdowns

Vernon:  63 games, 31 touchdowns

As you can see, numbers don’t lie, and although Vernon has more touchdowns than Witten, he’s also got about 140 less catches in that same time span.

Vernon Davis is one of the best TE’s in football, there’s no question about that. He’s put up monster numbers in the playoffs, was the recipient of “The Catch III”, and is a very good blocker, but his argument that he should be paid more doesn’t hold water.

He’s paid exactly where he should be paid, among the top TE’s in the league, but not higher than Witten, Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham.

Vernon Davis needs to own up to his contract and show up and play football because he’s being paid exactly what he deserves to be paid.

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Tags: Contract Holdout Vernon Davis

  • trinity

    What bothers me is that he hasn’t even earned the one he has in my opinion. the 49ers, being an elite team, is all about the postseason. Vernon Davis put up 54 yards last year in the playoffs. not one game, that is what he produced for the ENTIRE postseason combined! He flat out did not show up when his team needed him most, which is why i don’t think he deserves another contract yet.

  • JR Carroll

    If he continues to hold out then we trade his a$$ to someone like….. The jags. Then we’ll see not only his elite numbers shine through but how he enjoys money over winning.

  • John

    I have to agree. As a fan I am troubled by leaving his teammates in doubt about “thier” tight end.
    This really stinks. He will be getting 19-20 million over the next two years. He has no reason to complain. Alex Boone has a legitimate gripe but there are guys behind him who would love to get that job. The deal is Boone has worked his butt off, on and off the field to get where he is. He is durable and very good.