This excerpt taken from the DVN DEF 14A filed Apr 27, 2007.
Restricted Stock Awards
We also provide Restricted Stock Awards (RSAs) to each of our named executive officers once each year, generally in the month of December. Approximately 50% of each executive officers annual long-term incentive award is in the form of restricted stock. One quarter of each award vests on each of the first four anniversary dates of the original grant. As with stock options, the vesting schedule is intended to provide a continuous and consistent incentive to increase stockholder value over an extended period.
RSAs are grants of our common stock that will only be earned by an executive officer when the restrictions lapse (that is, once the RSAs become vested) and only if the individual continues to be employed by us at that time. Unlike stock options, which carry significant risk as well as reward opportunity for the executive officer, RSA awards generally have less down-side risk. While RSAs provide incentive for the executive officers to perform and behave in ways that drive longer-term stockholder value, their lower risk profile make them a very effective means of attracting and retaining top executive talent in our cyclical and competitive industry.