ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In spite of the team’s tight ends finally coming up with a positive performance in an impressive win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, the Denver Broncos executed a trade Monday for former Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis.
The Broncos announced they had acquired Davis from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for their sixth-round draft picks in 2016 and 2017. The Broncos will receive the 49ers’ seventh-round pick in 2016.
Broncos General Manager and Vice President of Football Operations John Elway announced the trade in a tweet.
We've agreed to trade for two-time Pro Bowl TE Vernon Davis from SF. He'll be a valuable addition to our team w/his experience & leadership.
— John Elway (@johnelway) November 2, 2015
After losing tight end Julius Thomas, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent in the offseason after making the Pro Bowl in back-to-back seasons, the Broncos had struggled to get the same sort of production out of the tight end position through the first six wins of this season.
Over that span, Broncos tight ends totaled just 17 catches for 123 yards. However, they did tally a respectable amount of touchdowns, with three.
The group did seem to emerge from their slump during Sunday night’s 29-10 win over the previously unbeaten Packers, with Virgil Green logging three catches for 61 yards and Owen Daniels making three catches for 44 yards.
Davis has also had production issues this season, having missed two games with a knee injury and having nabbed just 18 receptions for 194 yards and no touchdowns through six games. Those issues seem to have begun for the 31-year-old tight end last season.
In a down year for the 49ers in 2014 — one that led to the resignation of coach Jim Harbaugh just two years after the team reached the Super Bowl — Davis missed two games because of ankle and back issues, and was held to 26 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s worth noting the down period for Davis does stand in stark contrast to his otherwise prolific eight years in the NFL.
Just one season earlier, a mostly healthy Davis (he missed one game with a hamstring injury) made the Pro Bowl after grabbing 52 catches for 850 yards and 13 touchdowns.
And over the course of his previous six seasons, which included another Pro Bowl year in 2009, Davis averaged 54 catches, 680 yards and six touchdowns per season.
He missed only two games because of injury in that span.
The cheery news for the Broncos came with some bad news as the team announced rookie offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo, a Colorado State University product who began the year as a starter, would need season-ending surgery on his injured shoulder.