With the future of San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould still uncertain, should the Niners look to franchise tag one of the most reliable kickers in the league?
With the completion of the 2018 season, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch both stated publicly they would love to have kicker Robbie Gould back on the team for 2019.
However, with Gould set to become a free agent, there has been little word out of 49ers headquarters as to any progress towards a re-signing. And with the deadline of March 5 looming to get a new contract done prior to the start of free agency, is the franchise tag a real possibility for the Niners to look at?
My answer is most absolutely, yes!
There has been some division as to whether a team should tag a kicker, or spend the money that Gould is likely to garner. Tagging Gould would likely cost the 49ers approximately $5 million. While the argument can be made that there are plenty of kickers out there, there are few that possess the reliability that Gould owns.
Gould recently spoke about his offseason so far and touched on contract talks.
“They have the opportunity to get a contract done with me,” Gould explained. “Obviously, they have exclusive rights to talk to me until free agency opens. There’s no reason not to. … At this point, I’m just enjoying being around my kids and not really worried about the football contract.”
Since joining the 49ers in 2017, Gould has kicked 72 field goals from 75 attempts with a 97.1 percentage for 2018. And while 57 of those attempts have been from under 40 yards, he has only missed two from over 40 yards.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport released during the week that per sources, the Chicago Bears are expected to release kicker Cody Parkey. With Gould’s long history in Chicago, he played 11 seasons with the Bears, there is the chance they will come knocking yet again.
With Gould’s family remaining in Chicago over the past two years, it’s not unreasonable that he may wish to return home, rather than picking up and moving his family to California.
“Once a Bear always a Bear” Gould continued. “I truly mean that. This is where I spent 11 years of my life playing for an awesome organization. I’ve developed a lot of great relationships throughout the city but also the organization, just like I’ve done in New York, just like I’ve done in San Francisco. Will it happen? I don’t know.”
With Gould earning $2 million for his 2018 season, it’s not unreasonable for him to demand a pay raise, should the 49ers ink him to a new deal. With his veteran leadership and experience, he is currently way down the list per Over the Cap in kicker salaries. With multiple kickers earning over $4 million a year.
The Niners simply need to get this deal done. While placing a tag on Gould would be a short-term fix, they need to secure him to a longer deal. The importance of a reliable kicker in the NFL is of great importance, especially in the 49ers case. With Shanahan having to rely on Gould considerably due to the teams’ ineffectiveness in the red zone.
“If the 49ers are unable to work out a multi-year contract extension with kicker Robbie Gould, it would be a major surprise if the club did not use the tag to restrict his ability to sign with another team.”
You may agree or disagree with the premise of using the tag on Gould, but with him playing such an integral part for the 49ers over the past two seasons, he is one player that needs to stay in the red and gold.