NFC Notes: Davis, Graham, 49ers, Redskins

Vernon Davis seems to be keeping a close eye on the outcome of Jimmy Graham’s positional designation hearing, but the Graham decision shouldn’t have a real impact on the 49ers’ contract talks with their tight end, says Matt Maiocco of As Maiocco points out, Graham has a much stronger case to be considered a wide receiver, since he lined up in the slot or split out wide on two-thirds of his snaps, while Davis did so on only about 30% of his snaps.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • With no decision on Graham yet from arbitrator Stephen Burbank, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if the process may extend beyond July 15, the deadline for Graham and the Saints to reach a multiyear agreement. Even if Burbank’s ruling comes this week, it won’t be final until the losing side has the chance to appeal the decision. If New Orleans doesn’t sign Graham to a long-term deal by July 15, the star pass-catcher can only ink a one-year contract for 2014.
  • The 49ers‘ draft was almost universally lauded, and Bill Williamson of looks at what San Francisco hopes each pick will contribute in 2014. Second-rounder Carlos Hyde was thought to be a “steal” at pick No. 57, and is expected to receive opportunities at running back right away. Third-round center Marcus Martin has a chance to win the starting job, and fourth-round linebacker Chris Borland could earn playing time in the absence of the injured NaVorro Bowman.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap provides his take on the Redskins‘ best and worst contracts, identifying one of this year’s free agent signees – Jason Hatcher – as the player with the least team-friendly deal.
  • Jason Avant is expected to provide a veteran presence among the Panthers’ young receiving corps, but leadership alone wasn’t enough to keep him with the Eagles, where the 31-year-old quickly realized he wasn’t a fit in Chip Kelly’s scheme. “When they stop calling your number and guys start running some of the routes that you run,” Avant told Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, “I knew from the beginning that I didn’t fit his style of offense, in that I’m a crafty guy that gets open in an atypical way.”
  • In the view of Falcons head coach Mike Smith, a player’s salary should be “nobody’s business,” but quarterback Matt Ryan says he isn’t feeling increased pressure now that he’s on a $100MM+ deal, writes Vaughn McClure of

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

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