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49ers should lock up Kassim Osgood now that Anthony Dixon is gone

With Anthony Dixon leaving for Buffalo, the 49ers need to get Kassim Osgood under contract for the good of special teams.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We're a few days in to free agency, which means it's about time I start freaking out about special teams. This is a yearly tradition for me here at Niners Nation, because letting prime special teams players go has been the modus operandi of the San Francisco 49ers for about as long as I've been here.

San Francisco has maintained strong special teams play in recent seasons, despite my complaints of certain players they've allowed to go free -- say, Blake Costanzo -- but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be concerned. Yes, the 49ers have prices they want to pay someone, and yes, they've been excellent in finding solid talent on their coverage units to fill gaps left by these special teams standouts.

But there does need to be a little urgency. Last year, the 49ers' special teams units excelled for three reasons: Anthony Dixon, C.J. Spillman and Kassim Osgood. Dixon is now headed for the Buffalo Bills, which doesn't doom the 49ers or anything, but it does increase the importance of bringing back Osgood.

I think there's something special about Spillman, who is under contract already, and Osgood, who was just fantastic last season. Those two were clearly a cut above Dixon, but Osgood is still a free agent. It's already been reported that the 49ers are interested in bringing Osgood back and, sure, it doesn't seem likely that the market is particularly strong for special teamers right now, but with Chris Cook signed and the cornerback position taking shape, I know I'd rest easier if they locked up Osgood.

Perhaps this is just me doing my yearly freakout, but I'd really appreciate it if the 49ers kept their special teams losses down to just one guy this year. It would be nice if someone like Nick Moody could step up and fill Dixon's shoes while we're talking bout the subject, as well. Either way -- what do you guys think?