An off-ball linebacker, Davis will receive a significant raise compared to his last time on the market. The Saints have agreed to pay him $24MM over three years, per Russini, with $18MM coming in guarantees.
This completes a turnaround year for Davis, who saw the Browns trade him back to the Jets last offseason. He then accepted a pay cut from the previous $4MM-AAV salary the Jets re-signed him for in 2016. But after a strong season that saw him grade (per Pro Football Focus) as the No. 8 pure linebacker in the game, Davis will receive his reward sum.
The 29-year-old linebacker was targeting a deal worth $8-$10MM per year, but the Jets did not view him as a player worth that much. Gang Green saw Davis as more of a $3-$4MM-AAV performer, but with the cap rising to $177MM, most positions’ values are spiking. And Davis — who previously ranked as PFR’s No. 24 remaining UFA — was rewarded on the market.
While the Jets seemingly replaced Davis with a younger defender in Avery Williamson, the Saints will add a proven, durable starter to their second level. Davis has never missed a regular-season game in his six-year career and has been a full-time starter since 2013.
However, Davis has never played for a team that used a 4-3 scheme. He could be a fit at inside or outside linebacker, conceivably, on a Saints team that will surely find a starting spot for him given the contract authorized.
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