Vernon Davis, a free agent tight end who attended the University of Maryland, is returning to the Washington, D.C. area to sign with the Washington Redskins. Full terms of the deal are not yet available, but this post will be updated when they are.
Davis, a former Pro Bowl tight end who can catch and block, has fallen off the map in recent years. He won a Super Bowl with Denver last season after being traded in-season from the San Francisco 49ers, the team that drafted him in 2006, but did not play a major role in the Broncos offense in 2015. Davis caught 20 passes for 201 yards with Denver and 18 passes for 194 yards with the 49ers. He did not catch a touchdown in 2015.
However, Davis, 32, isn’t far removed from being a big producer at his position. His heyday was 2009-2013, when he averaged 59 receptions per year and caught 13 touchdown passes in a season twice. In 2014, however, his numbers fell dramatically and he went from being one of the top tight ends in the NFL to just a guy who used to be famous for being good.
Davis is a solid blocker, as well as pass-catcher, giving the Skins something they did not have on the roster. Starter Jordan Reed is one of the most feared receivers in the NFL, but is a mediocre blocker, at best. Niles Paul is coming off a serious injury and, like Reed, is hampered by being a bit undersized for the position. Logan Paulsen, who is also coming off a serious injury, is strictly a blocker and not a lock to make the team in 2016. Derek Carrier is yet another tight end coming off a serious injury and might not be available at the start of the season. Carrier, too, is not an ideal blocker for the position.
If Davis, who says he wants to play four or five more seasons, can resurrect his career in Washington, it would give the Skins the opportunity to go with 2-TE sets, with Reed and Davis forming a potent receiving tandem in the center of the field. A career revival from Davis in Washington could give Washington’s offense a major boost in 2016 and, perhaps, beyond.
For his career, Davis has 461 catches for 55 touchdowns and 5841 yards, averaging 12.7 yards per reception. Davis has been most injury-free in his career, having played at least 14 games per season every year since 2007.
Redskins GM Scot McCloughan has ties to Davis, as he was with the 49ers when the team made him a first round draft pick in 2006.