The San Francisco 49ers biggest free agency decision at this point is kicker Robbie Gould. Mike Person, Jimmie Ward, and Bradley Pinion are all of note as well, but Gould is the team’s best player who could hit the open market in March.
General manager John Lynch confirmed at the Senior Bowl that the two sides have been talking, but noting was imminent. A recent report suggests that is an optimistically accurate version of events.
On Thursday, The Athletic’s Dan Pompei published an interview with Gould. The 49ers kicker, who spent most of his career with the Chicago Bears, talked about his love for the city and the Bears organization. Shortly after the article went up, Matt Barrows offered up some “scuttlebutt” about Gould’s negotiations with the 49ers.
#49ers, Gould have been talking about a new contract and John Lynch said the team wants to "reward" him for his steady kicking. But the scuttlebutt in Mobile last week was that the sides weren't close. And Dan's story makes it sound as if Gould expects to reach FA on March 13. https://t.co/njRqcqIDor— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) January 31, 2019
The easiest decision in this would be for the 49ers to use the franchise tag, which includes a one-year contract tender of $5,088,000. Players generally are not fans of the tag, but until they’re willing to strike, it is probably not going anywhere. Teams have the control with it, and the 49ers can afford the hit. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement before March 5th, it would not be surprising to see the 49ers use the franchise tag.
In the meantime, we await rumors on where the two sides are in their negotiations. You can run through current kicker contracts to get a handle on average salaries and guaranteed money. Stephen Gostkowski just finished up a deal that earned him $4.3 million per year with an average guarantee of $2,525,000 per year. Heading into free agency, Graham Gano now has the biggest deal, averaging $4.25 million per year, with $2 million in guaranteed money per year.
Gould earned $2 million per year on his two-year deal, with $1 million in total guaranteed money. I have to think that after a pair of downright dominant seasons, Gould is looking to get upwards of $3.5 million or $4 million per year. He’s 36, but in kicker years, that’s really not too big a deal. Entirely speculating here, I could see him looking to land a two-year deal closer to $8 million. We’ll see where he ends up at.