Baseball has the dog days of summer. Well, football has the holdout days of training camp.
The Kansas City Chiefs avoided a long standoff with their best player, Jamaal Charles, by signing him to a two-year extension Wednesday. According to sources, Charles will now make $8.3 million in 2014 – as opposed to $3.9 million – and the deal includes $18.1 million in new money.
Well done, Kansas City.
In the Bay Area, however, it’s not so simple. Vernon Davis has reported to the 49ers’ camp, but the 30-year-old wants a new contract – even though he’s the fourth highest paid tight end in football.
“He’s set to make over $7 million this year, so this is not a case where a guy is going to be playing for peanuts,” CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on The Morning Show. “They redid this deal two or three years ago. I think the much more pressing issue for them in San Francisco is Alex Boone, who I guess is quote-unquote ‘just a guard.’ But he’s a damn good one – one of the best in the league – and he’s a guy who only got a little over a million to sign a few years ago. He’s making about $2 million a year – the 43rd highest paid guard in the NFL.”
La Canfora expects a lengthy holdout from the Ohio State product.
“He won’t be there for quite awhile, I don’t believe,” La Canfora said. “This is actually the holdout that I think will have some length to it. That’s a situation they need to resolve above and beyond Vernon’s situation, where maybe at some point they tack on an extra year or two to Vernon’s deal. I don’t see them (giving) him a whole lot of real-time money right now. Alex Boone is a guy who they probably do need to put a little money in his pocket.”
But let’s go back to the Chiefs for a second. Charles got paid, but what about Alex Smith? Smith, 30, is entering the final year of his contract and wants a lucrative extension, which is tricky. On the one hand, Smith is seen by many as a low-risk game manager. On the other hand, he’s 30-9-1 in his last 40 games, during which he has thrown 53 touchdowns to just 17 interceptions. Looking at 2013 specifically, Smith threw 23 touchdowns to just seven picks.
What will the Chiefs do here?
“I think the proof will ultimately be in the pudding on this one,” La Canfora said. “We’ve seen in this league so often where people complain, ‘Oh, we’re overpaying our quarterback. We did too much to keep him. Why does so much of our cap go to one guy?’ This is a situation where he signed a band-aid deal in San Francisco, he ended up losing his job and he did a nice job in Kansas City last year. But are (the Chiefs) going to be as good this year? Are they fully committed and all-in on him long term? What is his financial range? What should he be making? There’s a discrepancy there between what he thinks he should be making and what the Chiefs are willing to pay him.”
Even if Smith tests the open market, he probably won’t find what he’s looking for.
“He wouldn’t hit a huge home run,” La Canfora said. “I think he is somewhat limited. I don’t know. This always struck me as a band-aid kind of situation where he was a bridge quarterback for Andy Reid. Andy needed somebody who was smart and bright and could embody everything that you want on and off the field, but who he was renting and who he didn’t own long term – and I don’t know that he ever will own him long term.”