If you were holding out hope for a Robbie Gould reunion in Chicago, this new report from San Francisco will be your wet blanket.
Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports the 49ers are expected to place the franchise tag on Gould if they are unable to come to an agreement to a contract extension. And while the team hasn’t used the tag since 2012, Maiocco believes the odds are high that San Francisco would use it to keep Gould and would be surprised if they didn’t.
Franchise tags can be handed out as early as Tuesday and teams have until 3 p.m. (CT) on March 5 to declare franchise or transition players. If it happens with Gould, it would be somewhat of a surprise to a pair of national reporters. NFL.com insider Gregg Rosenthal didn’t list Gould among the players who were projected to get a tag. Neither did Connor Orr of SI.com’s The MMQB, who wrote about the 49ers: “Nothing to see here.” Apparently, not.
Using the franchise tag on a kicker isn’t something that happens often, but also isn’t completely unheard of in modern football. The Ravens did it with Justin Tucker in 2016 and the Patriots used it on Stephen Gostkowski in 2015. In both instances, the non-exclusive franchise tag was placed on the player. Under the non-exclusive tag, players can negotiate with other teams and sign an offer sheet. In this scenario, the original team has the right to match the offer sheet. But if it declines that right, then that team receives two first-round picks as compensation.
In any case, using the tag to retain Gould would be in line with what Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said in January when he shared his belief that his team’s kicker would be back in the mix in 2019. And if that’s how it plays out, the Bears’ search for a potential replacement for Cody Parkey won’t include their all-time leading scorer.