Vernon Davis had been wavering on his stance to hold out during his recent string of media appearances over the last week. He's taken the opposite approach to Alex Boone, whose silence has been telling.
But as of Tuesday, both are officially holding out for new deals, according to multiple reports.
The San Francisco 49ers start their mandatory three-day minicamp Tuesday. Davis and Boone will be no-shows as their teammates continue to get ready for training camp that starts at the end of July. If they miss all of the minicamp camp, they are each subject to a $69,455 fine. Davis already missed out on a $200,000 workout bonus for skipping voluntary OTAs.
"(I'm) disappointed in that decision for them not to be here," head coach Jim Harbaugh said before the team's minicamp practice Tuesday. "There's a voluntary segment to the offseason and we appreciate those guys volunteering to make the team better.
"(It's) not the decision that I envision being the 49er way."
Both players have two seasons remaining on their deals. When Davis signed his five-year, $37 million contract in 2010, he was the highest paid tight end in football. Now, his $7.4 million average salary ranks third in the league at the position behind Rob Gronkowski and Jason Witten. But because he signed a front-loaded deal, he's slated to make $4.7 and $4.35 million over the next two seasons.
Davis, 30, is likely hoping to garner an additional year or two on his deal along with more guaranteed money. He's coming off a 13-touchdown campaign, becoming the first tight end in league history to have two seasons with 13 scores.
Boone is on the opposite side of the spectrum. He signed his five-year, $8.04 million deal when he was still a reserve in 2011 before becoming a key component of the team's talented offensive line. Since becoming a starter in 2012, Boone - a former tackle - has developed into one of the better right guards in the NFL.
Davis has made it known recently that he's looking to build his brand and prepare for a future after football. In Monday's guest column for TheMMQB.com, Davis wrote:
"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 toward that goal, but I have to worry about my future first. Most of my teammates and many players in the NFL understand that. A few don't. Behind closed doors, they'll say they're all about the team and would run through a brick wall for the organization. But when you look closer, they're doing things to contradict themselves. I can't listen to anyone but my family and my advisors, because those are the people who are going to be there when football inevitably dumps me."
Last week, Davis was more ambiguous with comments when he told ESPN that he should be attending the minicamp because it was mandatory. But he changed his mind forcing second-year tight end Vance McDonald to get the bulk of snaps with the first-team offense. The 49ers also have returning veterans Garret Celek and Derek Carrier with undrafted rookies Asante Cleveland and Kevin Greene currently on the 90-man roster.
McDonald struggled in the passing game during his rookie season but became a key contributor as a run blocker as the year wore on. The next step in his development will come as a receiver as he hopes to improve on his eight receptions for 119 yards. At Rice, McDonald was the team's primary receiving threat at tight end.
At Boone's right guard spot, San Francisco has four players that could potentially replace him should his absence bleed into training camp. Third-year guard Joe Looney might be the favorite after playing well there in last season's win over the Rams when Boone moved to left tackle to replace the injured Joe Staley.
Daniel Kilgore and rookie third-round pick Marcus Martin look like they will compete for the starting center job while the loser could also be in the mix at right guard. The wild card is backup tackle Jonathan Martin, who has never played guard before this offseason - but has been getting reps there over the last few weeks. Adam Snyder is entering his tenth year in the league and also remains in the fold this summer.
Third-round pick Brandon Thomas suffered a torn ACL during a pre-draft workout and will likely "red shirt" this season. Thomas, and the others previously mentioned, could all be in play at left guard next year should Mike Iupati sign elsewhere next spring. Iupati is entering the final year of his rookie contract and could earn a lucrative deal on the open market if the team can't get him to agree to a new contract in the meantime.
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