There's plenty of reason to believe the dramatic dropoff in production is more attributable to coaching schemes, subpar quarterbacking and overall dysfunction in San Francisco rather than a sudden erosion of Davis' skills.
When asked why his per-catch average plummeted from 16.3 in 2013 to 9.4 in 2014, Davis explained in June that it was "just game planning."
Teammates and coaches testified at the time that an "extremely fast" Davis was stretching the field like it was 2013 in offseason practices.
So why is Davis averaging just 10.8 yards per reception and 32 yards per game this season?
There have been Bay Area whispers of a Kaepernick-Davis feud, which might also factor into the equation.
"We just thought with the opportunity to add Vernon," Elway said Monday, "to be able to add him to our roster as a weapon on the offensive side was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up.
"I have always liked Vernon ... I think two years ago he had 13 touchdown passes. He's a guy that can really stretch the field, has tremendous speed and athletic ability. He's one of those guys as a tight end that really catches your eye all the time."
Still just 31 years old, Davis has moved as well as ever in open space this season. Per Next Gen Stats, his 21.91 mph and 20.90 are the first- and third-fastest speeds by a tight end in 2015.
With the offensive line starting to gel and Manning finally reaching a level of comfort in Gary Kubiak's offense, Davis is set up for more success in Denver than he has enjoyed in a backsliding 49ers offense.