Only $1 million separated the 49ers and their franchise tagged player, Dashon Goldson, in trying to sign him to a long-term contract. With the 1:00 p.m. deadline passing on Monday, July, 16, Goldson will now play the 2012 season under a one-year, $6.2 million deal. That is, if he decides to sign his franchise tender and play for the 49ers in 2012. You would expect Goldson to do so because his only other option is to sit out the season in protest, which would hurt his chances of receiving the long-term contract he has been seeking with the 49ers the past two offseason’s. However, this question still remains unanswered: Why didn’t Goldson sign a long-term contract with the 49ers?
The 49ers front office, led by GM Trent Baalke, has remained steadfast in negotiations with players. They offer only deals they believe the player is worth, while not going over that amount to sign the player. For an example, see the last two franchise tag holdouts the 49ers experienced with Julian Peterson and Aubrayo Franklin. Both cases did not end with the front office caving by offering a deal with the money the players were seeking in a long-term contract. Both players ended up signing their franchise tender late in training camp. Neither player was tagged again nor re-signed to a long-term contract the following offseason.
This seems to be the case with Goldson not signing a long-term contract. It has been widely reported the 49ers offered $7 million a year with $14 million guaranteed and Goldson wanted $8 million a year. Baalke set the market value for Goldson at $7 million and he refused to go any higher. This is not the first time Goldson has experienced this as he turned down a five-year, $25 million deal last offseason from the 49ers. The safety thought he was worth more money while the 49ers did not, and they let him seek out a better deal with another team. Without receiving any better offers from other teams, he rejoined the 49ers for 2011, signing a one-year deal paying him $2 million.
Even though it would be career suicide, there is no guarantee Goldson will sign his franchise tender and play for the 49ers this season. He did recently say he would play under a franchise tag this season, however, in response to a question from CSNBayArea.com reporter Mindi Bach about when Goldson will sign his franchise tender, he said, “No comment.” The upcoming season has now become a make or break year for Goldson. He will need to duplicate, and build upon, his play from last season to show the 49ers and other teams he is worth the money he was seeking from San Francisco, in order for him to receive a contract he believes he is worth.
The 49ers could franchise tag Goldson again next offseason which would pay him around $7.45 million. That is not out of the question, however, a lot will depend on not only how Goldson plays, but how backup safeties C.J. Spillman and rookie Trenton Robinson perform this season. Should Spillman and/or Robinson show they are capable of starting and replacing Goldson at safety, the 49ers will let him walk in the offseason to sign with another team as an unrestricted free agent.
For now, the best and really only option for Goldson is to sign his franchise tender before July 26, when veterans report to training camp. If he delays signing his franchise tender and decides to do so late in the preseason, Niner fans can expect Jim Harbaugh to start the players at safety who have been at training camp full-time and shown they are ready to start, which will either be Spillman or Robinson.
Your move Goldson.