The San Francisco 49ers announced today, they have signed former Cleveland Browns K Phil Dawson. Dawson was by far the best free-agent on the market evident by his field-goal accuracy topping 84 percent over the course of his career. Dawson who spent his entire 14 seasons with the Browns will start a new chapter in San Francisco, that hopefully translates into a Super Bowl ring.
Dawson is a two-time All-Pro (2001 and 2012) and connected on 29 of 31 field-goals last year, including seven field-goals of at least 50 yards. The 38-year old kicker will now get his opportunity to finally win a ring with the Niners. Dawson tweeted the following message just minutes after the announcement of him coming to San Francisco, saying:
I am humbled & thrilled to have the opportunity to continue my career with my new team, the SF 49ers!
— Phil Dawson (@phil_dawson_4) March 19, 2013
Dawson will now have the luxury of taking over for former All-Pro K David Akers, who was abruptly released just weeks after the Super Bowl. With Dawson now kicking through the up-rights, it will be interesting to see how he fares under Candlestick conditions. The gusty winds and rainy conditions make it difficult for any kicker to enjoy success. However, I believe Dawson is up for the task.
If I was to compare Dawson, it would have to be former 49ers K Joe Nedney. Nedney came to San Francisco late in his career as well, and experienced great success as the 49ers kicker. Like Dawson, Nedney’s longest field-goal is 56 yards and boasted a field-goal accuracy rate of 80 percent.
With Dawson earning the kicking duties, expect the 49ers to use every draft pick they keep on other positions.