Fooch's Note: Harbaugh conversation is going on HERE. We'll likely have a new thread relatively soon.
Amidst all the hubbub of the Jim Harbaugh, Trent Baalke, and the 49ers GM/coach search, a small item has slid by without a ton of fan fare. Earlier today the 49ers officially announced that they had signed five players from their practice squad to Reserve/Future Contracts. Those five players were G Nick Howell, WR Kevin Jurovich, WR Lance Long, RB Xavier Omon and K Fabrizio Scaccia.
The most notable name missing from that list is QB Nate Davis, arguably the most popular and least popular 49ers player on this site. The 49ers decision to not sign him to a Reserve/Future Contract means that he is now a free agent and eligible to sign anywhere in the NFL (or other leagues for that matter). This does not spell the end of the Nate Davis "era" in San Francisco because he has expressed an interest in returning to the team. Of course, the decision to not extend to him a Reserve/Future contract could mean Trent Baalke does not want to bring him back. However, it remains to be seen what input the new head coach (be it Jim Harbaugh, Hue Jackson, or whomever) has on the situation.
Every year a different 49ers player jumps out as the underdog fan favorite. We've all joked about the former user Kory Sheets Was Our Future but his name really was fitting for the way folks latch on to certain players. I even fit in that group given my man-crush on outside linebacker Jay Moore. You just see something you like in a player and he becomes "your guy" no matter what else happens.
Nate Davis became that guy for most folks back in 2009 when he put together some solid moments in the preseason. Folks liked him so much we even saw someone put together a compilation of his entire 2009 preseason.
Davis never saw the field in 2009 but came back for another year in 2010. The highlight of Davis' 2010 preseason had to be this throw. After Davis rolled to his right, he uncorked a 65 yard rocket. The Davis crowd had to feel validated when Cris Collinsworth made a comparison to John Elway. We know it was contextual to that throw, but it reminded me of when Bob Costas compared Stephen Strasburg to Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Greg Maddux over the course of his debut. Now Strasburg brought a little something more to the table, but when you start making those comparisons you suck people in to the growing legend.
However, shortly after that Mike Singletary basically stated that Davis had not adequately prepared in the offseason and was not in a position to step forward as a viable option for the 49ers at that point in time. Matt Barrows provides some excellent insight about Nate Davis amidst the contract signings and the 49ers QB situation. While some columnists might be more inclined to turn it into a full-on hatchet job, Barrows uses facts and Singletary quotations in his article. Weight gain isn't always a sign of laziness, but give his situation over the last season with the 49ers, one has to wonder how serious he is taking his NFL future.
It remains to be seen whether Nate Davis will return to the 49ers in 2011. All things considered I'd guess he will not be with the 49ers. Of course, the addition of a new head coach could change that. However, at this point Trent Baalke does not seem to be interested in bringing him back. I suppose some might view this as Baalke not wanting to saddle a new coach with any QBs he doesn't want, but the value of the contract would have been so minimal that he could just as easily be cut. I think as of today, the 49ers career of Nate Davis is finished.