Will Robbie Gould sign 49ers’ franchise tender?

Robbie Gould #9 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Robbie Gould #9 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

With kicker Robbie Gould and the San Francisco 49ers yet to come to an agreement surrounding Gould’s long-term future, is there a chance Gould refuses to sign his franchise tender with the Niners?

It’s no secret the San Francisco 49ers and kicker Robbie Gould have been in contract negotiations for some time now. With the Niners unable to lock down Gould with a contract extension following the completion of the 2018 season, they ultimately decided to place him under the franchise tag.

NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers insider Matt Maiocco reported several weeks ago on his 49ers Insider podcast that Gould is apparently unhappy with being placed under the tag, something Maiocco reiterated on in a recent article:

"The 49ers and Gould appear to be at odds over the team’s decision to lock him up for this season on the franchise tag. Gould has made it clear he wanted to be able to explore his options as a free agent, especially the possibility of a return to Chicago, where he played his first 11 NFL seasons."

Maiocco went on to report that per a league source, the 49ers had shown recent interest in New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski who, at the time, was still a free agent.

However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter released the news several hours later that the Patriots had indeed reportedly re-signed Gostkowski to a new two-year deal:

With Gould unhappy with his current situation, this is possibly the reason he has yet to sign his franchise tender with the 49ers. And, while talks between Gould and the 49ers appearing not to be progressing the way anyone would like, was the Niners apparent pursuit of Gostkowski a contingency plan for Gould, or in fact were they looking for his replacement?

So, what are some of the options that Gould has should he not come to an agreement with the 49ers?

Firstly, while he may be unhappy with the current situation, I would be surprised if he doesn’t ultimately sign the tender and remain in the Bay Area for one more season. With the Niners knowing a new deal is not going to happen, he will be free to look elsewhere for the 2020 season.

He could refuse to sign altogether and sit out the season in protest, much like former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. However, while not as large a contract as Bell’s, he would be forfeiting close to $5 million in salary if he chooses this option.

Gould may refuse to attend OTAs and training camp, not showing up until the start of the regular season. Not a big deal, he is a veteran with years of experience. And while he may refuse to attend camp, he would likely still be practicing on his own time during the offseason.

There is also the possibility that failing everything else, the 49ers end up trading him if this is the easiest option to come to some sort of resolution. With Gould still having an affinity for Chicago, the Bears may be an option.

“Once a Bear always a Bear” Gould said while speaking about his offseason. “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.”

Gould’s family remains in Chicago, with the kicker living out of a hotel for the past two seasons with the Niners. With Gould unwilling to relocate his family, an inevitable return to Chicago might be on the cards.

Next. 49ers’ 7-round mock 2019 NFL Draft with Josh Allen in Round 1. dark

By all reports, Gould is a professional guy. So, if he is to remain on the 49ers roster for at least the 2019 season, while he may not be entirely happy, I’d expect him to still perform to the high standard that he is renowned for.