The thinking in some circles when Patrick Willis cashed in last week with a $50 million, five-year extension, a creative deal in which the San Francisco 49ers found a way around the 30 percent rule, was that the organization wouldn’t have enough cabbage left for tight end Vernon Davis.
Maybe there is a way to get both of the young stars paid. Matt Maiocco of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area reports that preliminary talks on a big deal for the Pro Bowl tight end have opened. Davis is angling for a $40 million, five-year deal that includes $25 million guaranteed. Whether or not he can hit a jackpot that large remains to be seen.
It makes sense for the Niners to lock up Davis, who is only 26. Finally made a focal point in the passing game last year when offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye took over, Davis exploded with 78 receptions for 965 yards and 13 touchdowns. Occupying the middle third of the field, he should help young wide receiver Michael Crabtree develop this year. Davis’ rookie contract runs through the end of this season.
Maiocco points out that it won’t be an easy thing for the 49ers, one of the lower revenue teams in the league. Of course, if they could land a new stadium deal, everything would chance. Substantial money in Willis’ deal is deferred until 2013 giving the club some flexibility.
Unlike most tight ends who post big numbers in the passing game, Davis is a complete player and an accomplished blocker. Rewarding him with a new contract is an important step in sending a message to the locker room that players who do the right thing will be taken care of financially. Finding the room to make that contract happen will be the challenge.
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