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Is there cause to be worried about Phil Dawson and the 49ers' kicking situation?

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Phil Dawson regressed between 2013 and 2014 -- is there cause for concern going forward?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

When the San Francisco 49ers brought in kicker Phil Dawson in 2013, a whole lot of people were reminded of the David Akers signing just a couple years prior. The 49ers signed Akers, got an amazing season out of him, and then he fell absolutely flat. Many were worried that would happen with Dawson, who has been in the NFL since he kicked his first field goal for the Cleveland Browns in 1999.

Dawson went ahead and had an excellent season in 2013, following the Akers model -- he converted on 32 of 36 field goals, an 88.9 field goal percentage -- and thankfully, he didn't quite stink up the joint like Akers went on to do. Don't get me wrong, Akers is certainly one of the better kickers in recent years and should be remembered fondly by, say, the Philadelphia Eagles, but boy did he mess us fans up a little bit near the end there, didn't he?

Anyway, back to Dawson. He had that solid first season, and then he regressed somewhat significantly, but not catastrophically this past year. But it was a bigger regression than most people realize, I think. Dawson connected on 25 of 31 field goal attempts, missing one from 30-39 yards, two from 40-49 yards and three from 50-plus yards.

That's a field goal percentage of 80.6, significantly less than the 2013 season. It was actually Dawson's worst field goal percentage since 2006, when he was all the way down to 72.4 percent. I'm sure this was all kind of overlooked given how dysfunctional the 49ers were on offense and how many injuries they dealt with on defense.

Dawson is signed through the 2015 season, and with all of the things the 49ers have to accomplish this offseason, I'm sure they won't exacerbate the situation by trying to find a new kicker as well. But the position is definitely a concern, and something that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Let's just hope that his regression in 2014 doesn't continue, and that "sooner" doesn't mean "in the next few months."

There is also, of course, Dawson's contract number. We'll be touching on that more in depth in the coming days, but he's got a cap hit of $4.1 million in 2015, and the 49ers could theoretically move on from him, and in the process save all but $1 million of that in cap space. I don't know how likely that is per se, but if the 49ers are worried at all about whether or not Dawson has another season left in him, they could theoretically look to the draft and part ways with Dawson.