Right tackle Anthony Davis has finally evolved into the player the San Francisco 49ers envisioned him becoming when they selected the Rutgers product 11th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, and now he’ll be donning the Red and Gold through the 2019 season after agreeing to a 5-year, $37.3 million contract extension Thursday night.
It may have cost a pretty penny, but Davis is still just 23 years old and was arguably the best right tackle in all of football last season, only the third year of his young but promising career. Davis was graded by Pro Football Focus as the third best RT in 2012 during the regular season, and he was spectacular during the postseason as well. In terms of run blocking alone, the only tackle on either side of the line to grade out better than Davis was Joe Staley, the 49ers’ left tackle.
Franchise-caliber tackles are extremely hard to come by, and that’s why Trent Baalke and Co. knew they had to get an extension done sooner than later. Davis’ big deal will obviously eat up a good deal of cap space down the road, but if he were to hit free agency when his original contract expires, another team likely would have offered him an even bigger payday.
That doesn’t mean he’d go for it, but it’s a risk San Fran’s front office should not and now will not have to take.
In order to keep the league’s best offensive line intact for as long as possible, this deal had to get done eventually. Staley, an All-Pro selection each of the past two seasons, is locked up until 2017, so the Niners are now set at the offensive tackle positions for the foreseeable future. Mike Iupati, (drafted the same year and round as Davis) the team’s starting left guard, was an All-Pro in 2012 as well and is signed through 2014. Alex Boone, who earned the nod at right guard in 2012 and looked like he’d been there for years, is under contract through 2015 and is only 25 years old.
Now, the only remaining question mark across the O-line is at center, where 34-year-old Jonathan Goodwin currently resides. Goodwin is a free agent after the 2013 season and likely won’t be brought back.
That, however, is a topic for another day. It’s now time to celebrate the fact that Davis, who is still as young as some of the prospects entering this year’s draft, will be a Niner for basically the rest of this decade.