There are only three reasons I could come up with why Vernon Davis would skip over 200,000 smackaroos just to come to voluntary practices for the 49ers. Which, I also believe, are less strenuous due to the labor deal passed a couple of years back.
1. He is out of money, and trying to get a new contract. This can be a possibility, but a huge risk to lose that much money from voluntary workouts. Easily could voice his discontent and threaten/ask to be traded if he doesn’t get money.
2. He had some bigger issues going on. Shit happens. But this would’ve been known by now. 200Gs though….
But here is what I wrote on CBS Sports page on the real reason Vernon Davis hasn’t shown up: Harbaugh’s coaching:
Doesn’t make sense. His contract was front-ended and he was getting paid good money in 2012 when his stats are mediocre. BUT, let me defend this here.
Their offense puts him on a lot of blocking assignments, and a great deal of his yards with Kapernick have been 15+ yard plays. Most of the time its pretty physical, and half the season he’s playing against very physical defenses. That brutal style won’t get you those stats or even keep you well physically over time. He is reaching that age where if he’s only going to get one contract left, why toil on a team and lose most of your speed by 32 creating holes for running backs or cutting off linebackers on screens?
This doesn’t happen on a … let’s say Eagles or Saints, where they’ll treat the TE more as a receiver and less as a bruiser. This might be a situation where he doesn’t like his role at all regardless of the money. He signed his last contract before Harbaugh came in and expanded his blocking assignments under Smith. And Harbaugh seems like a type who will bury a player into the ground to win the SB.
And rightfully so, and so should Davis. But I wonder if Davis is scared to sacrifice the last of his physical prowess on a team that doesn’t seem to have answers against the Seahawks past two years. He’s probably looking at it that he can gracefully do a Shannon Sharpe and play/get paid another 5-7 years on a less-intensive team, then possibly take the edge of his career to a contender.
He plays this year and he plays well. But I think he is willing to have one more year of this type of style and I think he bolts regardless if they win the SB. But he’s counting on a ring this year, so this will be his only stir.
Don’t be surprised if you see Gronk do this next year either. These guys are waaayyyy above in their game and seeing the money (and pretty much softer assignments) and winning ways of Jimmy Graham they might forego being on the best teams to extend their careers. But they will take the beating in the short-term to get that ring. Gronk is now an injury risk (remember, his forearm injury happened because Belly has him on SPECIAL TEAMS for EXTRA POINT BLOCKING) and Davis’s stats might be sacrificed and physical toll heightened.
They know their coaches can win it all, but in 2016, Houston and Indy might be up there too. And will pay them more with less physical strain on their bodies. They are aware of this, and when this game can take out the best players in the blink of an eye, they might not chance it for their current teams further then their current contract’s expiration date.