A surprise entrant into the Stephen Gostkowski sweepstakes has emerged – and may change everything: NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the San Francisco 49ers are kicking the tires on Gostkowski, who happens to be the best available kicker on the free agent market.
An interesting decision, right?
Gostkowski is one of the league’s best active kickers and ranks third in all-time field goal accuracy – so on the one hand, the Niners interest is perfectly understandable. But on the other hand … it’s a bit of a surprise to see them connected to him after the team placed the Franchise tag on kicker Robbie Gould at the start of the tag tendering process. A simple explanation would suggest that because Gould has yet to sign his franchise tender, the 49ers could just be creating a backup plan in case Gould chooses not to sign the Franchise tag tender, which would pay him $4.971 million for the 2019 season. But who knows what’s really going on. The only thing we know for sure, is this could have an impact on the Bears.
If you recall, we profiled Gostkowski as a potential Bears free agent target earlier this offseason and shared free agent rumors which linked Chicago as a potential landing spot if he didn’t return to New England. But since then, it’s mostly been all quiet on the Gostkowski front.
And of course, there was a time when it seemed as if Gould was intent to test the free agent market (possibly even with the Bears), going as far as to lay out what he was looking for in his next contract. But free agency was never going to be an option with the Niners putting the tag down on Gould. And while it’s not as if the 49ers don’t know Gould’s asking price, it’s just that the two sides have never appeared to be close on agreeing to a long-term deal.
So … is this still a situation worth monitoring from a Bears perspective? The answer is yes, but with a few caveats.
If the 49ers do eventually sign Gostkowski, they could lift the Franchise tag off Gould and make him an unrestricted free agent. From there, Gould could negotiate with any of the teams in search of a kicker and sign anywhere. Of course, even if San Francisco pulled the trigger on signing Gostkowski, the team could still keep Gould with the intent of trading him to an interested team in need of a kicker. In other words, that’s a lot of “ifs” and “coulds,” so just keep that in mind, when you begin considering these rumors.
Otherwise, we’ll keep any related 49ers movement on our radar and let you know as soon as there’s an update … if there is one at all.