Pats re-sign Davis
The Patriots ensured one of their core special teams players will remain with the team, signing linebacker/safety Don Davis to a one-year contract extension worth a base salary of $770,000. The deal also includes a $25,000 signing bonus and will count $485,000 against the Patriots' salary cap because it qualifies for the minimum salary benefit.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Davis led the Patriots with 25 special teams tackles in 2005.
“As far as coming back for another year, it’s awesome; I’m ecstatic and my family is ecstatic,” Davis said on Tuesday afternoon. “This past season, I learned a lot and think I played better, more focused.”
The 2005 season was Davis’s 10th in the NFL. The 33-year-old, who is one of the team's spiritual leaders, said he entered the year thinking it would be his last.
“Ten years is a good career and I figured that would be it, but the fire is still there,” he said. “When I started playing, the idea was to get vested [with the NFL players union]. It was a struggle to get there, but once it happened, I was thinking ‘maybe I can get two more.’ And the years just kept adding. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be playing in year 11.”
Davis felt his play had tapered off a bit after the 2004 season, perhaps as a result of him learning to play safety.
“I was so focused on that, that it might have taken away from who I am, what helped me get established –- special teams play,” he said. “This past year, I tried to focus more on techniques [on special teams]. It was just kind of realizing and knowing what you are.”
Davis still worked at safety at times, and warmed up with the team’s defensive backs before most games. But since it was his second season playing the position, his comfort level was greater.
In an interesting twist, Davis negotiated his contract extension without the aid of an agent.
“Being an older player and knowing my role with the team, it was pretty straightforward,” he said.
Davis was one of 17 Patriots players scheduled for unrestricted free agency, a group that includes kicker Adam Vinatieri, receiver David Givens, offensive lineman Tom Ashworth, safety Artrell Hawkins and offensive lineman Stephen Neal.