SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vernon Davis' pursuit of a new contract dates to well before his absence from the 49ers' voluntary workouts.

Davis said he approached the 49ers last season about restructuring his contract, which expires after the 2015 season.

"They said they would get back to us, and we're just waiting," Davis said Thursday on ESPN's NFL Live.

Davis previously missed organized team activities before coach Jim Harbaugh's arrival in 2011.

"It's not mandatory, and that's what I have to keep reminding people," Davis said.

The 49ers' only mandatory offseason training is a June 17-19 minicamp, and Davis told ESPN he "strongly believes" he'll attend.

Davis also commented on New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham's grievance with the NFL over whether he deserves a wide receiver franchise-tag salary.

"He is one of those guys that is a part of that tight end position that are changing the game -- Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, (Rob) Gronkowski," Davis said. "Those guys are some fantastic players. If it was me, if I was the owner of the team, I would give the kid everything he wants because he's that."

Asked whether tight ends should be paid more like receivers, Davis said: "If you're a guy who's catching a lot of passes and you possess some of the traits that wide receivers have, then yes, I agree. I think that he should get paid like a wide receiver."


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When asked if he should be paid like a wideout, Davis said, "I can't speak for myself. I'll let everybody else do that."

Davis was in New York on Wednesday and at ESPN's Connecticut headquarters Thursday to promote his stock-partnership with San Francisco-based Fantex, which bought 10 percent of his future earnings for $4 million.

"If you look at a lot of athletes, we all need to build our brand," Davis said Wednesday on SI Now. "That's where Fantex comes into play. They're there to grasp and take our brand to the next level."

Davis has forfeited a $200,000 workout bonus by missing the OTAs that began last week. He is slated to make $4.7 million and $4.3 million in base salaries over the final two years of his contract.

"I've always wanted to retire as a 49er. I've expressed that to them," said Davis, who turned 30 in January. "For some reason, we can't get that done."

The 49ers got a six-year contract extension done Wednesday with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who Davis said "deserved" the deal that could be worth up to $126 million.

Davis isn't the only 49ers player seeking a contract extension. Guard Alex Boone also has been a no-show at OTAs in search of extending his deal past 2015. Wideout Michael Crabtree, guard Mike Iupati, running back Frank Gore and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey have contracts expiring after 2014.

ESPN.com contributed to this report.