Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Sep 2010

Vernon Davis: Highest-Paid TE In League History

The 49ers have signed tight end Vernon Davis to a contract extension that will make him the highest-paid tight end in league history. The five-year extension guarantees him $23 million and could be worth up to $37 million.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 11 Sep 2010

13 comments, Last at 13 Sep 2010, 6:10am by Theo


by Alexander :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 3:29pm

Why? It's great for Davis, but there are several TEs that are much better than him.

by langsty :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 3:48pm

And none of them are on the market

by greybeard :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 4:57pm

Contracts are made based on potential. Of all TEs, for the next 5 years after next year (it is an extension), I can easily see VD as contributing most to his team.
Maybe Gates will be better overall in that span. He will be 31 -> 36 years old. Even then, he is not available.

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 4:58pm

That doesn't even matter because another TE will probably get a contract next year that's bigger than this one. Players aren't paid on scale where the best one gets the most money each year, they're paid based on how many players of their caliber the team can acquire, and how helpful the team perceives them to be at helping them win.

by speedegg :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 6:09pm

As Red Forman would say to the deal,"That deserves a foot in your a**." Not sure one season of unsustainable statistical performance (fluke?) shouldn't warrant a huge deal. If he sustains that into this year, then yes.

by AlanSP :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 7:00pm

Not sure what makes you think it's unsustainable. Davis has always had freakishly good athletic abilities, so the talent's certainly there. Maybe it would have been nice for them to wait to see if he could do it again, but he was in his contract year, and I can certainly understand just wanting to get a deal done and not have it be a distraction.

by Never Surrender (not verified) :: Sun, 09/12/2010 - 1:48pm

I'd personally take Chris Cooley over Davis for the 5-year outlook. At any rate I don't think it's an "easy" call.

by AlanSP :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 6:51pm

Pretty much every top tier player signs a bigger contract than the last guy signed. How many headlines have you read in the past few years along the lines of "[Player] Becomes the Highest-Paid [Position] in League History"? Just in the last year, off the top of my head, I can think of Brady, Davis, Revis (those 3 in the last week) along with Peppers, Antrel Rolle, and Jahri Evans.

by dbostedo :: Sun, 09/12/2010 - 9:40am

I don't think Revis got more per year than Asomugha, did he? Maybe he got a higher total value. That's the other thing to watch - someone who gets a one year contract for 25 million could be called the "highest paid", but so could someone who signs a 15 year deal at 10 million per year.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 09/12/2010 - 11:23am

It would probably be better described as "getting more than another player at your position, assuming there isn't already one incredibly overpaid player at that position thanks to weird negotiating from an utterly insane owner".

by britt (not verified) :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 10:43pm

There should be clauses in his contract that escalate if Alex Smith gets canned, because VD would put up absolutely stupid stats with a top 10 QB.

by BucNasty :: Sat, 09/11/2010 - 11:13pm

That assumes that they replace him with a top tier QB and not J.T. O'Sullivan redux.

by Theo :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 6:10am

Zach Miller disagrees with you.
In 15 games last year with JaMarcus Russell he catched 66 for 805 and 3 touchdowns.