Thomas Davis is the NFC's defensive player of the week, the league
announced this week.
Davis' 9 tackle, 2 sack, 1 defensed pass game against Minnesota helped
spark a massive win for Carolina. Helping hold Adrian Peterson to 62
yards, the Carolina defense feasted on QB Matt Cassel for two turnovers
and a 35-10 win.
It's been fantastic to see Davis, Carolina's 2005 first rounder, excel
on the field. Nothing in this game is guaranteed - no one expected that
the team's former heart and soul, Jon Beason, would end up playing 8
games for Carolina over three years before being traded for a
conditional 7th rounder.
And nothing was guaranteed for Davis, whose 3 torn ACLs in two years'
time was clearly a death knell for any player. From 2009 and 2010, the
tandem of Beason and Davis were torn apart, and they spent essentially
all of 2011 rehabbing together. Nobody would bet on something like
this, but I don't think much money would've ended up on Davis to be the
one to come out of it shining.
Davis started all of 2012, Beason's achilles injury eventually piled up
with a shoulder and knee issue that he's never completely recovered
from. Davis seems to just keep getting better.
And now comes the hard part, the part where I look ahead. The part
where I don't live in the moment and enjoy the performance. The part
where next year matters, too. 2014's contact includes a $2.5 million
option bonus, and a $3 million salary. The bonus you can spread (only
one extra year actually, he's under contract through 2015), but I wonder
if Carolina will have $6 million on the books for a 31 year old
The end result is that Davis has earned it. He cut his contract, and
cut it again. He deferred bonuses so he could prove he could play - and
he can. But that might not fit with where Carolina is next year.
Sentimentally, I would want Davis to stay. There's no doubt of that.
Carolina's running short on some old history, honestly - 2003's first
rounder Jordan Gross has a voidable deal that might push him out, too.
2004's first, Chris Gamble, retired this spring when released. 2007's
first, Deangelo Williams, looks safe for now but last year saw him
benched and potentially traded.
Does history really matter when you're on the field? Probably not, and
in some ways it's someone else's furniture. Dave Gettleman didn't draft
these guys, and leaders and talent change yearly no matter what you want
to do (ask Beason if things are going his way). But, as this team nears
20 years on the field, it's interesting that a guy like Gross has been
on the field for half of that time. It's nice to remember guys that
spent their careers in this small town, for this small franchise.
There's something to be said for a guy or two to be around that
remembers that Super Bowl, or even that remembers that disastrous
Cardinals playoff game in '08. There's something about a shared
history. You don't make business decisions on that, but you like to
know it's there nonetheless.
In the meantime, Davis is playing lights-out. They need nothing less,
and they can afford nothing less. For now.