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Jonathan Goodwin signs with New Orleans Saints, per reports

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Former 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin is returning to the New Orleans Saints. We take a look back at his time with the 49ers, and what his departure means.

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The New Orleans Saints have come to terms on a contract with former 49ers (and before that former Saints) center Jonathan Goodwin, according to MikeTriplett. Goodwin is expected to sign the deal on Tuesday, which is probably when the Saints will announce it as official.

The signing will have no bearing on the San Francisco 49ers due to the timing of the move. No matter what amount Goodwin gets, he officially became a "street free agent" when the 49ers did not tender him by yesterday. Over The Cap broke down how that works in general, and we took a more specific look at it on Sunday.

Simply put, if an unrestricted free agent is not offered a specific tender by June 1, his last team gives up any remaining rights, including the right to a compensatory pick. This also means teams are going to wait until after June 1 to start signing some of the more veteran free agents. Goodwin met with the Saints in April, and I imagine they knew at that point that Goodwin was going to sign with them. The center had previously considered retirement, but then changed his mind once the offseason hit. I'd also imagine this means he'll earn more than the league minimum with the Saints since a league minimum deal could have been signed before now with no comp pick issues.

Goodwin did some strong work in his three seasons with the 49ers. He never missed a game, and provided a certain stabilizing factor. The 49ers signed him back in 2011 to join a line that had a lot of talent, but also some question marks about how it would all come together. This is not to say that Goodwin brought it all together, but bringing in a Super Bowl winning veteran helped. The 49ers had a lot of talented players, but not a lot of playoff experience. I imagine that Goodwin's experience proved quite valuable as the 49ers quickly developed into a playoff team.

The 49ers move forward with Daniel Kilgore as the early front-runner to start at center. The team drafted Marcus Martin to compete there and at guard. This will be one of the more fascinating roster battles given the lack of starting center experience for both men. Kilgore got first team snaps in OTAs last year, and has gotten some work in mop-up duty. Martin is a rookie with plenty to learn about the NFL game. Kilgore signed a 3-year extension earlier this year, but it is at a fairly reasonable rate. That does not mean he won't hold on to the starting job, but if Martin is clearly better, there are no real salary cap concerns about moving Kilgore back into a reserve role.