Well, after much speculation, codespeak and vague speech from a number of parties, looks like Vernon Davis really is holding out.
After brushing off rumors that he’s looking for more money for himself, and only interested in building his brand, Davis came out with a Monday Morning QB Column on SI.com saying that, in fact, he believes that he has outplayed the contract extension he signed in 2010, paying him $23 million guaranteed and $37 million over five years.
The all-world TE for the San Francisco 49ers, who recently signed with Fantex to sell stock on his future earning potential, has skipped Day 1 of the team’s first mandatory minicamp, and is now looking for a new contract:
It’s all about getting paid what you deserve. It’s not that complicated. I want the 49ers to win the Super Bowl, and I want to be on the field this summer working towards that goal, but I have to worry about my future first.
Now, we have detractors and angry 49ers fans alike that are saying he’s selfish, and should get to camp so he can earn what he thinks he deserves.
After all, he was the one who signed the extension in 2010 – he made his bed, and he should lay in it, right?
For me, it’s never that easy. After all, he does have quite a bit of leverage – what being one of QB Colin Kaepernick’s most reliable receiving weapons and all – and the earning potential of even the greatest NFL players is much more limited than your average joe.
Besides, I’m usually on the player’s side when it comes to these kinds of “management vs labor” negotiations. Stripped of the amounts of money involved, owners hold all the cards in this power relationship. Players (read: labor) can get cut if they underperform their contract, but don’t hold any loyalties to give them more if they overperform (which, in this case, you can definitely argue he has)?
In any case, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: those who vilify Davis, or most of the athletes who hold out for better contracts, find it easy to do so, simply because they see them like the villainous Washington Sentinels players from the 2000 sports comedy “The Replacements”: you know, the ones who strike because they can’t afford a third condo and a fourth Bentley off of their multi-million dollar contracts.
To the detractors, this is essentially what Vernon Davis sounds like right now:
However, it comes down to this: if you signed a contract with the company you worked for, and then believed you outperformed your contract, wouldn’t you want the negotiating power to get more money? You don’t want to be paid less than what you believe you’re worth, right?
Thats all Davis is doing here, because he has the opportunity to do it, in a profession that has one of the shortest shelf lives in the working world – no matter how lucrative the pay is.
So, as much as I realize it’s hard to cry for the plight of guys like Davis, I still understand it – as unpopular as that opinion can be.
Get your money, Vernon.