Matt Maiocco is reporting that multiple league sources have told CSN Bay Area that the 49ers are leaning toward NOT placing their franchise tag on free safety Dashon Goldson. The 49ers have until March 4 to decide whether or not to place the tag on Goldson for the second straight season. Maiocco also reported the two sides are not believed to be close on a long-term extension. CSN Bay Area had reported last week that there was no guarantee that the team would use the tag on Goldson.
If the 49ers placed the franchise tag on Goldson, it would account for $7,454,400 based on the required 120% raise from his franchise tender last year. A multi-year deal would likely include a smaller cap hit in year one. If the 49ers do place the franchise tag on Goldson, they would need to clear cap space to fit under the $122 million and change salary cap. That would most likely come from trading Alex Smith, but it could also be cleared with other contracts getting re-worked.
If the 49ers elect to not place the tag and they remain far apart in a possible long-term deal, that opens the door for a variety of solutions. They could elect to go the free agent route, but a better cost-control option would be looking at safeties in the early part of the Draft. The 49ers have the pieces to move up if they want to draft a guy like Kenny Vaccaro, or maybe they're high on Matt Elam. There are some options if the 49ers do decide to look in a different direction.