The San Francisco 49ers got four solid seasons of production from kicker Phil Dawson, but the new regime decided to go in a different direction in 2017. The team signed free agent Robbie Gould on the first day of free agency, and it worked about as well as could be expected.
Gould was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl after a season in which he converted 39 of 41 field goal attempts, including all four from 50 yards and beyond. He missed two extra points on the season, but Football Outsiders ranked the team’s field goal and extra point group second in the league.
Gould was a bit of a rarity in that he was almost exclusively a field goal and extra point kicker. Bradley Pinion handled the bulk of the kickoff work, with Gould handling only four kickoffs all season.
Age: 35 (36 on December 6)
Experience: 13 accrued season
Weight: 190 pounds
Entering second season of two-year, $4 million contract. He will receive a base salary of $2 million, and have a cap figure of $2.25 million.
Why he might improve in 2018
I mean, I suppose he could not miss two extra points and could convert those other two field goals. Technically there is room for improvement, but for the most part, the 49ers would be ecstatic with a repeat of his 2017 performance.
Why he might regress in 2018
I’d say odds are decent that he take a modest step back this year. It has more to do with how good he was in 2017 than him getting worse as a football player. And he could take a bigger step back if he runs into some struggles, but it likely won’t be because of age. Much like dog years and human years are different, kicker/punter years and most other football player years are different.
Odds of making the roster
The 49ers did not draft a kicker, so it seems safe to say Gould isn’t going anywhere for the time being. The bigger question is his status for 2019. The 49ers have cap space, so it would not surprise me if they worked out an extension with him this year. Of course, the market for kickers is not always as strong as more notable positions, so they could just wait and deal with this next offseason.