49ers roster 2023: Jake Moody better be the real deal

At least the Niners didn't use a first- or a second-round draft pick on Jake Moody.
San Francisco 49ers kicker Jake Moody (4)
San Francisco 49ers kicker Jake Moody (4) / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The 49ers shocked the sports world by using a third-round NFL Draft pick on kicker Jake Moody, and he'll need to prove he was worth it.

Sure, the San Francisco 49ers needed a kicker to replace veteran Robbie Gould heading into 2023. But after making a low-end trade with the Carolina Panthers for Zane Gonzalez early in the offseason, that need didn't seem to be as pressing.

At least that's what everyone else thought except the Niners.

Instead, San Francisco used one of its third-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft on former Michigan kicker Jake Moody, a move that had to stun the football world, given that Moody was the first specialist taken off the board for a 49ers team that could have addressed other key areas of need instead.

Interestingly enough, the Niners have drafted kickers in Round 3 twice before, Doug Brien in the 1994 draft and Steve Mike-Mayer in 1975.

But Moody is the topic of discussion for now, especially as he was viewed as the clear-cut best kicker in this year's class.

Moody made every single one of his 148 extra-point attempts with the Wolverines, and his field-goal percentage was a solid 82.1 with few questions surrounding whether or not he'd be able to connect from 50-plus yards out.

He can. And, at the cost of the embarrassment of using a third-round pick, at least San Francisco won't have to pay Gould-like money for Moody over the next four years.

What is Jake Moody's contract with the 49ers like?

It's important to note that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and players union locks in the amount drafted rookies can make, and the contract number decreases slightly from the No. 1 overall pick down to the final selection of the draft.

Moody, selected at No. 99 overall, will receive the dollar amount set for any player (regardless of position) drafted in that spot.

According to Spotrac, Moody will get a four-year, $5.454 million contract with $857,512 guaranteed at signing.

The 49ers aren't going to waive Moody if he struggles in training camp (he isn't) simply because of the relatively high draft asset used to acquire him.

But, for some odd reason they did, the Niners would absorb $857,512 in dead money.

Why Jake Moody's success with 49ers is so vital

Moody has to beat out Gonzalez in training camp and the preseason. However, there has been little to suggest that it's much of a competition. Even if both kickers are competing at even levels, Moody will get the job almost by default.

Read more: The real reason the 49ers surprisingly drafted Jake Moody

Now, it likely be nowhere near as extreme as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' failed reach in Round 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft on Roberto Aguayo, who suffered arguably the worst meltdown for a high-profile kicker in league history.

But, should Moody not pan out, he'll certainly be in the same kind of conversation as Aguayo, and San Francisco wouldn't look any better for it.

More importantly, though, it's vital to consider that Gould accounted for 131 of the 49ers' 450 points scored during the regular season a year ago.

That's nearly 30 percent, meaning Moody is on pace to account for roughly a third of all Niners points his rookie year.

Needless to say, that's a lot of pressure that'll go beyond making any clutch game-winning kicks at the end of contests.

Read more from Niner Noise