When this whole Robbie Gould leaving the San Francisco 49ers chat started following the 2022 season, it seemed like that: chat. Well, after all the posts and analysis as well as projected draft picks and the trade for a kicker, Gould is a free agent, and the 49ers aren’t exactly forced into anything with Zane Gonzalez’s contract.
If the conversation needed anything else to say, Gould wasn’t coming back, here’s something. Per Coral Smith over at NFL.com, Gould re-upped on the news he’s probably not coming back:
“Obviously I want to play closer to home, that’s one of the big things that’s meant a lot to me, and we’re filtering through those opportunities, and waiting for the right time to be able to do that,” Gould said. “I’d love to win if possible, so I’m kind of being a little picky with that, but at 40 years old and playing 18 years in the league, I think I’ve earned the ability to do that.”
Hey, that’s great! It’s just like that other 49ers player that wanted a fresh start back in 2022. They even went so far to thank the fans. His name was Jimmy Garoppolo. How did that turn out?
Yes, the situations are different, but even if the 49ers burn a draft pick on a kicker, it’s always a possibility until Gould signs somewhere. The 49ers could actually burn a draft pick, cut Gonzalez and still re-sign Gould. That said, if you’re a betting man, bet the situation that Gould is gone. Ok, logic aside, there are two points to make about everything that’s happened on the kicker position:
1: Gould could still come back.
The 49ers aren’t exactly buried in dead money if they were to cut Zane Gonzalez, the kicker they traded for. He’s more of an insurance policy than anything. Could he be the kicker of the future? Possibly. Could they take a draft pick? Sure. Could Robbie Gould finally have enough of this free agency thing and come back for a cheaper salary? Stranger things have happened with this team.
Well, we’re now into late April and Gould still doesn’t have a contract. When the 49ers made the trade for Gonzales, it may have been a move to cover their bases before the 2023 NFL Draft should a draft pick—and to an extent Gould—not pan out. Gould hasn’t exactly been the coveted leg in free agency, which leads me to Point 2:
2: The 49ers aren’t the only team lacking urgency for Robbie Gould
Yes, he’s accurate, and yes, he’s won the 49ers a lot of games, and yes, he might be picky as he says, but this isn’t like Phil Dawson getting signed when free agency starts. The 49ers haven’t signed Robbie Gould, and so haven’t 31 other teams. Oh, and we’re in late April, if you aren’t keeping track.
Gould is getting a bit older, and he’s obviously not as coveted as he once was. But even with all of the above going on, the door clearly wasn’t shut with him and the 49ers. At least on the surface.
Behind closed doors, it’s probably a done deal: he’s not coming back, and he may just be taking it easy. Gould said he wants to be closer to his family, and he’s definitely stuck to his guns in the past.
The one thing I don’t want to see in the comments is how this was so obvious. Nothing is obvious when it comes to this stuff or this team. The 49ers are the one team we’ve all learned when a player says or reports indicate they aren’t coming back, something happens