49ers free agents 2013, Dashon Goldson: Franchise tag vs. long term deal

The San Francisco 49ers have to figure out what to do with free agent free safety Dashon Goldson. We take a look at what his future could hold, and what a potential long term contract might look like.

Now that we have wrapped up our 6-part series on potential cap casualties, I want to look at 49ers free safety Dashon Goldson. He is a free agent, and is coming off his first franchise tag. There are a variety of factors to consider in his contract, and I want to look at why a long term deal makes more sense than a second franchise tag.

First off the franchise tag number a year ago for Goldson was at $6.212 million. A second consecutive season with the franchise tag would result in a 120% raise, giving him a 2013 salary of $7,454,400. Now below we will compare some contracts given to previous free agent free safeties.

One of the big names was back in 2011 when San Diego re-signed Eric Weddle to a 5-year $40 million deal. This deal contained a $13 million signing bonus at the time, which prorates to $2.6 million over five years. Below are Weddle's current salaries, both for 2013 and through the end of his deal.

2013
Cap Number: $8,600,000
Base: $6,000,000
Prorated Signing Bonus: $2,600,000

2014 & 2015
Cap Number: $10,100,000
Base: $7,500,000
Prorated Signing Bonus: $2,600,000

Next up is Titans free safety Michael Griffin, who was given a 5-year $35 million deal in June of 2012. His deal contained a $9 million signing bonus, along with his 2012 base salary being guaranteed. He also has escalators at $1 million per season for Pro Bowl selections. Below are Griffin's current and full terms left on his deal.

2013
Cap Number: $6,300,000
Base: $3,500,000
Prorated Signing Bonus: $1,800,000
Roster Bonus (Due March 2013): $1,000,000

2014
Cap Number: $8,000,000
Base: $6,200,000
Prorated Signing Bonus: $1,800,000

2015
Cap Number: $8,100,000
Base: $6,300,000
Prorated Signing Bonus: $1,800,000

2016
Cap Number: $8,300,000
Base: $6,500,000
Prorated Signing Bonus: $1,800,000

As you can see, you can make an argument as to why a long term deal makes more sense. The 49ers would get lower first and second year cap numbers, and prorated guaranteed money over the contract for cap purposes. I would expect Goldson to command in Weddle's area, and I expect the 49ers and Goldson to compromise, and do a five or six year deal worth $7.5 million a year average, which equals around $37.5 million for five years, and $45 million for six years.

If the 49ers are planning on a long term deal, I would expect similar to deals done for Ahmad Brooks, and NaVorro Bowman. Both received a $7 million signing bonus, and $750,000 roster bonuses for game day active roster per season, starting in the second season of new extension (2013 for Brooks, and 2014 for Bowman).

The franchise tag locks them into a single year without the ability to use cap accounting tools to move money between seasons. Signing him to a long-term deal gives the 49ers the ability to have Goldson under contract long term, but also doesn't hurt cap wise with the structure similar to Brooks and Bowman.

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