The San Francisco 49ers want to keep Robbie Gould around, and with good reason. Gould has missed just three kicks in 32 career games with the team and has a 96.5 percent success rate since being cut by the Chicago Bears before the start of the 2016 season. And yet, bringing back Gould might not be as easy as one would expect.
Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports that the 49ers and Gould’s representatives have been in contact, but the two sides of the bargaining table were not close to coming to an agreement. And while GM John Lynch has hope a deal will work itself out, sources informed Barrows that no deal was imminent. San Francisco could use the franchise tag to retain Gould at an estimated $4.9 million, but when Lynch tells Barrows the team would like to reward Gould for his clutch kicking, a one-year deal (even at a franchise tag number) probably isn’t what he has in mind. And for what it’s worth, it sounds like Gould doesn’t want to do a one-year deal either.
“Obviously I’d like to be in the place that I’m going to play for longer than one year again if it does work out that way, but if not, it’s the business of football,” Gould said, via WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge. “And if (the franchise tag) does happen for some reason, then the CBA does grant me opportunities that I can stay around my family for a long time. So those are things I have to take into account.”
That last part is less of a potential holdout threat and more about a guy who knows his way around the CBA. Well played, Robbie.
So perhaps Gould does want to test free agency. The Bears’ all-time leading scorer has dropped some serious hints that suggest he would welcome a return to Chicago since the season ended. And even though he is just teasing us to pieces with the idea of kicking for the Bears again, 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan expects Gould to be back in San Francisco next season. That would be a bummer.
Between the looming potential of the 49ers using the franchise tag short term and the fact that they have gobs of salary cap space to the point where paying a big-money contract to a kicker wouldn’t handcuff pursuits elsewhere, there are some pretty tall hurdles the Bears need to clear before a reunion with Gould can be come a reality. But at least he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward the franchise, telling Hoge: “My heart still lives in Chicago. I still have a lot of affinities to the family and want Mrs. McCaskey and her family to hold up a Super Bowl trophy one day.”
Adding a reliable kicker would help the Bears inch that much closer to that goal. Just sayin’.