San Francisco 49ers

Vernon Davis puts his foot in his mouth

Vernon Davis is holding out for a new contract. Most people don’t know this, because he’s kept it very quiet. He’s only written an article about his contract status in Cat Fancy Sports Illustrated’s MMQB and done interviews with ESPN, TLC, CNBC, 95.7 The Game, Bravo and now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The AJC interview is the most recent, and perhaps the most confusing. That’s saying a lot, especially considering how he uttered the following to ESPN before 49ers minicamp: “My foot could get stuck in the grass, and I may not be able to get out … but if it’s mandatory, I think I should be there.”

Jim Harbaugh Vernon DavisBefore we get to the AJC stuff from earlier today … has anyone ever gotten their foot stuck in grass before? Quicksand — absolutely. Mud — rarely, but it can happen. Grass? Maybe when a big snake that’s hiding in there decides to bite your foot and won’t let go (which happens ALL THE TIME).

Let’s go through Davis’ answer to D. Orlando Ledbetter’s (which is a great name) first question (“How difficult has it been dealing with your contract situation?”) piece by piece and see if we can figure out what the hell Davis is trying to say.

“It hasn’t been difficult at all. There are no worries. There is nothing that I can stress about.”

He may be laying it on a little thick by effectively saying “I’m chillin'” three times, but so far, so good. He doesn’t want the 49ers to think he’s getting antsy, and truth be told he’s probably pretty happy to skip all these offseason workouts as he heads into his ninth NFL season.

“It’s obvious that we want a new contract. I want a new contract. It’s just like any athlete, we all want a new contract.”

The word “we” is always nice to use when conversing about athletic endeavors, but Davis quickly corrected himself after using it in regards to his contractual desires. Instead of “any athlete,” Davis probably should’ve said “many athletes.” I can think of a few who are more than happy with their current contracts (cough … Matt Cain … ahem … Albert Pujols … burp … Kobe Bryant).

“But I’m not going to stress over it. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t get it. If I get it, that’s good.”

I love how Davis is treating the prospect of a new contract with the 49ers like it’s a coupon for 25 cents off a package of Kraft singles. His representatives probably don’t love Davis’ “no worries” attitude, though.

“It’s moving slowly, but surely. At the end of the day, if I don’t get the deal, at least I tried and I put my foot down. If I don’t get it at the moment, I’m not going to lose any sleep.”

If Davis doesn’t get “the deal,” that would mean he put his foot down … before picking it up and running a wheel route.

Some people want to say this isn’t Fantex-related, or it’s only partially Fantex-related. I think this is 5% Vernon-had-a-good-2013-and-wants-to-cash-out-now-that-the-Niners-have-actual-receivers-related and 95% Fantex-related. They gave him $4 million, which means even after losing workout bonuses from missing OTAs and getting fined for missing minicamp, he’s still more comfortable financially at this point than he would’ve been if he had maximized what he could earn from the 49ers this offseason and never signed with Fantex.

Davis’ current contract was front-loaded, and as a 30-year-old with multiple concussions it’s clear why he’d like to land one last huge contract before his career takes a sudden turn for the worse. But he’s making decent money, his contract lasts another season after this one, and it doesn’t seem like Davis’ heart is really into this holdout. Oh well, Fantex is getting tons of free publicity. Just look at all those athletes lining up to have their own IPOs after seeing how smoothly it’s gone with Vernon…

Spartan Sports Guy
Spartan Sports Guy

My whole point is Vernon had no problem taking more money than he was worth, and that is the amount he is signed to now. All of a sudden he's not cool with that amount now that the market dictates he's slightly underpaid? His hold out is detrimental to the team and a raise wouldn't help keep other guys under contract, so as much as I love VD he deserves some criticism.


Okay, I'm gonna stick up for my facebook friend, Vernon Davis.  Let the man handle his darn business however he sees fit.  And c'mon, BASG, you critiquing the way a tight end expresses himself verbally is like him critiquing your abs or how fast you can run.  The man makes his living getting the crap beat out of him (including last year's infamous "package grab," and the concussions you mention), so let him get paid for that.  When it comes down to it, though, pro sports, and maybe especially football, is a cut-throat business.  But somehow you're going to single out Vernon Davis for being, like, "unethical" because he wants his money?  I call BS.  Obviously, these guys need to get what they can before they get thrown out with the trash.  

Also, he posts funny pictures of himself dancing and stuff, which is awesome.  And he's probably the best painter since Rothko. 

Pulgas de Brent Burns
Pulgas de Brent Burns

Unless you're disgustingly underpaid, holding out for a new contract with two years left is absurd. Maybe he should try to do a little more in big games against the Seahawks. 

Always been a fan of the guy, but the dude is losing the PR battle badly.


Let him play out his contract, and then let him walk, they have enough TE'S to take over, and are younger. 

Spartan Sports Guy
Spartan Sports Guy

This contract originally made him the highest paid tight end ever, when he wasn't the best tight end in the league, much less "ever." He wasn't too worried about being fairly compensated then, so he shouldn't be now. You signed, now fulfill.


Even casual observers can see this isn't a good look.

Good on him for financially taking care of his future, but the Vernon Show may have jumped the shark.

Bay Area Sports Guy
Bay Area Sports Guy moderator

@EliDrabman Um, where exactly did you get the idea that I think he's being "unethical" from what I wrote? He should get all the money he can, for the reasons you mentioned. His career could end on his next play. 

But if you're going to go on a media tour, what you say will be scrutinized. This article had absolutely nothing to do with ethics. It's about how he's contradicted himself multiple times, and what he said in this particular interview didn't exactly do wonders for his leverage.


@Bay Area Sports Guy @EliDrabman  Yeah, you're right.  I was conflating your comments with those of Spartan Sports Guy, below.  He suggests that Davis somehow doesn't deserve the kind of money he's holding out for.  That's pretty much the sentiment I've been reading elsewhere as well, that he's not a team player because he's holding out for more money (unethically choosing self over team).  

But I still think you're being a bit unfair.  Yeah, the softness of his comments is a little funny, but do you really not know what he means when he says he's afraid of getting his foot stuck in the grass?  He's obviously talking about avoiding injury, right?  And that makes sense for a guy who's been around a while and is getting older.  And isn't it true that just about everybody, athlete or not, would like to be paid more money?  So why is it weird for him to assert that?  

What do you think would have been a better look for him?  Something like, "Yeah G, you know I need that money.  You know I need that cheddah, feel me?  I'm gonna get mine, nahmean?"    

It seems to me he's being pretty honest.  He probably doesn't really care all that much, since he'll continue to be rich and happy either way (assuming he doesn't die or get paralyzed this season), and you're probably spot on when you say that it's his people who are making this happen.  But that means you're basically criticizing him for not playing the game correctly, which in my book would be something to praise him for.  I've been reading you for a while now, and I'd guess you feel the same way in your heart of hearts.  

Because, you know, I'm totally an an expert on all of this stuff.  He IS my facebook friend, after all.  And I even own a 49er sweatshirt.  And a hat.  It's a 2011 NFC West Champions hat.  And it's sweat stained.  So.

What is Bay Area Sports Guy?

It is the top independent sports site covering the teams that play in the best sports region in the United States. BASG is not an ordinary fan blog. It is a place where sports news is broken and analyzed by writers with access who are not afraid to question the status quo, writers who also produce original content in the form of videos, photographs and podcasts.

Questions/Comments? Email

Sign up for our mailing list.

Copyright © 2016 - Bay Area Sports Guy. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy Terms of Use and BASG Shop Terms

To Top