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The 49ers must decide Gould’s future by December 31

The Niners must decide if they’ll pick up Gould’s $2.25 million option, which is half of his base salary

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have a decision looming on Robbie Gould and his future with the franchise. By December 31, the 49ers must decide whether they want to pick up half of Gould’s $4.5 million in base salary. The 38-year-old had made 31 straight kicks from inside of 50 yards before Saturday’s contest against Arizona.

Gould missed field goals from 41 and 37 yards, as well as an extra point. The Cardinals had a chance to tie the game on the final drive due to Gould missing those three kicks. Gould had missed one extra point and two field goals, coming into the game, both coming on attempts that were over 50 yards.

Kyle Shanahan spoke about Gould after Saturday’s win:

“You’ve got to look at the body of work with Robbie, and Robbie’s been unbelievable since he’s been here for us. He’s had an unbelievable year this year. Yeah, it was tough on those situations, and Robbie will be harder on himself than anyone, but no. He’s played too much football in his career, and he’s played too much football for us to let one game decide who he is.”

That doesn’t sound like a coach who will let a poor performance in a meaningless game stand in the way of a decision. Historically, Gould is one of the three most accurate kickers in the NFL. I doubt this game would be enough to change the minds of the decision-makers for the 49ers.

With that in mind, his age and salary are a factor. If the 49ers elect to pick up Gould’s $2.25 million option this coming week, he’s going to be on the roster for at least another season. Is paying an extra two million worth it for Gould? I’d lean yes because of stability. We’ve seen how a bad kicker can turn a game around. The argument would be that a replacement kicker would hypothetically give you a similar performance where he misses a few kicks a season for roughly $3 million cheaper.

These are all of the decisions San Francisco must factor in. Saving a couple of million here and there could be the difference in signing a big-name free agent or bringing back one of your 40 unrestricted free agents. Based on Shanahan’s comments, Gould will be back in the Bay Area next season.