The Denver Broncos entered this offseason with Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas as their two most notable free agents. The team placed the franchise tag on Demaryius, but they could not retain Julius. The latter Thomas signed a five year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Broncos replaced Julius Thomas with Owen Daniels, who they signed to a three year contract.
Daniels is a solid enough tight end who has dealt with some injuries. He should benefit tremendously playing with Peyton Manning. However, one report indicates the Broncos had their sights on a bigger target. According to Bejamin Allbright, the Broncos called the San Francisco 49ers to inquire about Vernon Davis, but were rebuffed.
There has been speculation Davis might end up a cap casualty, but Trent Baalke said at the Combine that he foresaw Davis being on the 49ers roster in 2015. If this report is true, this further adds to that theory. After all, if the 49ers were seriously thinking about releasing Davis, a trade that could net them some kind of return would be much preferable. Especially if they could send him to the AFC, against a team they will not face for a few years.
At this point, Davis will return to a tight end corps that had an ugly 2014 season. Injuries crippled the unit, with Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek and Derek Carrier all dealing with one injury or another. Practice squad tight end Asante Cleveland found himself getting several opportunities on the roster due to these injuries.
It appears the 49ers will bring that whole group back for the offseason workout program and training camp. Whether that means they will actually be productive remains to be seen. I can't imagine they can be as bad as they were in 2014, but I suppose I should not make any assumptions about this group. The 49ers could still elect to add some talent in the upcoming draft, but I do not expect them to invest particularly high at this point. My guess is we end up with pretty much the same group of tight ends in training camp.