Davis: Pay Jimmy Graham like a WR

ByMike Triplett via ESPN logo
Thursday, June 5, 2014

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who is angling for his own contract extension, said he believes that the New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham deserves more than just a tight end franchise-tag salary.

"I think Jimmy Graham is trying to make an informed decision as far as his contract. He believes that he deserves more, and I believe that he deserves more," Davis said when asked during a "SportsCenter" interview Thursday about the franchise-tag grievance that Graham filed. "He's just a wonderful presence. He's a great player. He has a lot of potential to go above and beyond and just go further. He is one of those guys that is a part of that TE position that are changing the game -- Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, [Rob] Gronkowski.

"Those guys are some fantastic players. If it was me, if I was the owner of the team, I would give the kid everything he wants because he's that."

Graham's grievance hearing is scheduled for June 17-18, when a neutral third-party arbitrator will hear arguments as to whether Graham should be considered a wide receiver instead, since he lined up for 67 percent of his snaps either in the slot or out wide last season. The one-year franchise-tag salary for tight ends and wide receivers is $7.035 million and $12.3 million, respectively.

That ruling could have a huge effect on the long-term contract negotiations between the Saints and Graham.

Asked if he feels like tight ends should be paid more like receivers, Davis said, "If you're a guy who's catching a lot of passes and you possess some of the traits that wide receivers have, then yes, I agree. I think that he should get paid like a wide receiver."

And when asked if he himself should be paid like a receiver, Davis said, "I can't speak for myself. I'll let everybody else do that."

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