Niners make No. 6 pick Davis highest-paid TE

Updated: July 28, 2006, 5:23 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

An all-night negotiating session between the San Francisco 49ers and the agents for first-round choice Vernon Davis was rewarded with Davis making his first practice and the former Maryland star becoming the highest-paid tight end in the league.

Davis signed a five-year deal Friday morning worth in excess of $23 million and possibly close to around $25 million. His deal tops those of Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey, the Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez, Raven Todd Heap, the Cowboys' Jason Witten and the Falcons' Alge Crumpler. They make between $4.14 million and $4.5 million a year.

Included in the deal is $15.45 million in guarantees. The contract is roughly 41 percent better than the slot for the No. 6 pick last season.

Davis was the sixth pick in the first round and a rare talent. He can run the 40 in the 4.3-second range even though he weighs more than 250 pounds. His presence is expected to help the development of quarterback Alex Smith, who is entering his second year.

Davis' agents, Eric Metz and Ethan Locke, have been negotiating around the clock for more than two days on two coasts. They completed a five-year, $9 million deal late Thursday night for Patriots first-round pick Laurence Maroney. They negotiated until 5 a.m. Friday on Davis' deal.

After a brief break to review the language, both sides worked hard to make sure Davis made the team's morning practice. The 49ers reported to camp Friday morning and began their practice sessions.

All of the 49ers' draft choices are now signed.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer