Yesterday, Matt Maiocco put together a post about the possibility of the 49ers using the franchise tag on either Dashon Goldson or Carlos Rogers. Goldson is the more likely candidate given the lower franchise tag number for safety versus cornerback, but you can't really count out Rogers as an option if Goldson suddenly gets locked up. There likely aren't any other candidates given the rundown of 49ers free agents.
In the middle of that MM article, there was an interesting comment that might have been easy to overlook:
A team source told CSNBayArea.com that the day after the season, the sides reached an understanding that Smith would look for an opportunity elsewhere. The 49ers are likely to sign another veteran safety to a minimum-type of contract and/or select a backup safety in the draft.
Given that Reggie Smith is an unrestricted free agent, there is nothing really stopping Smith from looking elsewhere. Nonetheless, this could indicate the 49ers will look to aggressively pursue re-signing Goldson or definitely place the franchise tag on him. Prior to Goldson returning to the 49ers in August, Smith was getting the first string snaps and seemed ready to take the job before a torn meniscus put him on the shelf.
If Goldson will be back next year and Smith walks, I would imagine the 49ers would look for a veteran in free agency to provide backup help. At the same time, C.J. Spillman could get a chance for some more playing time. Spillman is a restricted free agent, so we'll see how the team elects to tender him.