Davis: Pay Jimmy Graham like a WR

Updated: June 5, 2014, 3:27 PM ET
By Mike Triplett | ESPN.com

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.

[+] EnlargeJimmy Graham
AP Photo/Ric TapiaJimmy Graham deserves to be paid like a wide receiver instead of a tight end, Vernon Davis says.

"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."

Mike Triplett

ESPN New Orleans Saints reporter

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