When the 49ers announced the signing of Phil Dawson, the newly acquired kicker sounded pretty excited about joining the team. If there were any question marks about it, he has only amplified his excitement. Dawson made an appearance on 95.7 The Game and I don't recall hearing somebody quite so excited about joining a new team.
When it started looking like this was going to happen, my first thought was "don't get ahead of myself." I was thinking I'd be heartbroken if I get my hopes up and then something falls through. We shared with our children what we thought might happen and we had to threaten them. "You can't tell anyone at school. This is a family secret." One of my boys wore a 49ers shirt to school that day. It just so happens that the news went down when he was at school that day. When I picked him up he came to me with a smile on his face and he said, "dad did my shirt work?" I said, "son it did." That was a cool moment and my two boys could name half the team already so they're jazzed up and now they are big men on campus because believe it or not, everybody in Austin, Texas loves the 49ers. Here we go.
Players always talk about being happy with their new team, but Dawson is taking it the extra mile, which is always nice to see.
Prior to this signing, we had plenty of discussion about potentially drafting a kicker. I actually do think the 49ers will bring in another kicker, but I expect it to be an undrafted free agent who will operate as a camp leg. Dawson will get plenty of work at Candlestick to get used to the wind, but I think we'll see a signing similar to last year's Giorgio Tavecchio signing. It's a player who will get some time and work to keep Dawson's leg fresh, but will not legitimately challenge for the job unless Dawson gets hurt.
Some have suggested in the comments and over Twitter that the 49ers should consider drafting another kicker and stashing him on the practice squad. While the 49ers have an excess of draft picks, if they were to draft a Caleb Sturgis or Dustin Hopkins (likely the only two kickers to get drafted), the odds are slim that either would clear waivers. A player has to clear waivers before signing to the practice squad, and that just wouldn't happen. Maybe the team keeps a kicker on the practice squad after training camp, but it will be an undrafted free agent. The 49ers do have plenty of draft picks, but it would be foolish to spend one on a kicker.