Antonio Gates lead blocking for Vernon Davis?

Yesterday the Chargers agreed to a five year deal with Antonio Gates. The deal is worth $36.175 million. It includes $20.4 million in guarantees and averages just over $7 million per year, making him the highest paid TE in the league. Dallas Clark earned $6.77 million making him the highest paid TE in the league last year.

This is an interesting deal for several reasons. First off there's the obvious implications regarding Vernon Davis. Secondly there's the whole issue with the contracts for Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeil who must be furious right now. Join me after the jump for some number crunching. 

Let's compare stats first:

 

Antonio Gates

Career Stats 
Season Team Receiving Rushing Fumbles
G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2009 San Diego Chargers 16 16 79 1,157 14.6 56 8 -- -- -- -- -- 1 0
2008 San Diego Chargers 16 16 60 704 11.7 34 8 -- -- -- -- -- 1 1
2007 San Diego Chargers 16 16 75 984 13.1 49T 9 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2006 San Diego Chargers 16 16 71 924 13.0 57T 9 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2005 San Diego Chargers 15 15 89 1,101 12.4 38 10 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2004 San Diego Chargers 15 15 81 964 11.9 72T 13 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2003 San Diego Chargers 15 11 24 389 16.2 48 2 -- -- -- -- -- 1 1
TOTAL 479 6,223 13.0 72 59 0 0 0.0 0 0 3 2

 

Vernon Davis

Career Stats
Season Team Receiving Rushing Fumbles
G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2009 San Francisco 49ers 16 16 78 965 12.4 73T 13 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2008 San Francisco 49ers 16 16 31 358 11.5 57 2 1 11 11.0 11 0 2 1
2007 San Francisco 49ers 14 14 52 509 9.8 31 4 -- -- -- -- -- 1 1
2006 San Francisco 49ers 10 8 20 265 13.3 52T 3 2 5 2.5 9 0 1 1
TOTAL 181 2,097 11.6 73 22 3 16 5.3 11 0 4 3

 

Now Antonio Gates has been productive for longer than Vernon Davis but I think it's safe to assume that if VD has even close to the same kind of year in 2010 that he did in 2009 we'll be locking him up fast. He's younger, more talented and has more upside to his career so there's no reason we can't pay him more.

My guess it'll be six years $45 million. with $25 million guaranteed. We've talked about this before, back when Celek extended and when we extended Patrick Willis and I think this is the most realistic figure, however I wouldn't be totally shocked to see a 7 year deal worth close to $50 million. 

The way I'd structure it is to split the bonuses up over 2011 and 2012, with the rest of the money coming in 2013-2016. What do you guys think?  Personally I think we extend him before the end of the regular season. 

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