Well, this news would probably sting more if we didn’t already think it was going to happen …
Game of tag officially underway: 49ers placed their franchise tag on kicker Robbie Gould today, per league sources. SF is first team this off-season to use its franchise tag.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 26, 2019
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports that the 49ers are using the Franchise tag on kicker (and theoretical Bears target) Robbie Gould. And with that, GM John Lynch has virtually one-upped his Bears counterpart by tagging the best player at the Bears’ biggest position of need.
But I’ll tell you what: It takes some real stones do bust out that tag for a kicker, though maybe it was necessary after Gould hinted he’d be open to return to Chicago. From a 49ers perspective, the move locks in a kicker who’s made 82 of 85 attempts since being cut by the Bears before the start of the 2016 season. It also pretty much puts an end to the Hollywood dream scenario of Gould returning to Chicago as some sort of prodigal kicking son.
I say “pretty much” because San Francisco’s use of the tag doesn’t necessarily eliminate a trade scenario, which is what we saw last offseason with wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
If you’ll recall, the Dolphins placed the Franchise tag on Landry as a way to facilitate a trade out of Miami. This move allowed the Dolphins to line up suitors for Landry with the intent of extracting draft picks or a player in return. Landry was ultimately dealt to the Browns with the Dolphins receiving a 2018 fourth-round pick and 2019 seventh-round selection. The 49ers digging into this bag of tricks would be a heck of a play for GM John Lynch, but it doesn’t seem all that likely – especially if San Francisco believes its own window of contention is about to open up.
As for the Bears, their search for a new kicker will head in a different direction.