Robbie Gould has been nails during his time in San Francisco, with missed field goals being few and far between. But he reportedly didn’t make it to the start of 49ers camp, which is going to raise some eyebrows, given the way the rest of his offseason has gone.
Indeed, NBC Sports reports that Gould – who hasn’t signed his Franchise tag tender yet – was a no-show on the first day of the 49ers’ offseason training program. And because he’s yet to sign his tender, he won’t be attending this phase of training. However, this may just be the tip of the iceberg, because Gould doesn’t seem all that eager to show up in San Francisco.
But not everyone is so surprised. Gould’s no-show isn’t a shocker to Eric Branch (San Francisco Chronicle), who reports that the former Bears kicker isn’t interested in signing a long-term deal with the team and showed “strong indications” that he wasn’t a fan of the 49ers’ decision to designate him with the Franchise tag. Perhaps that could explain why the 49ers popped up as a suitor for free agent kicker Stephen Gostkowski before he re-signed with the Patriots – but one thing at a time.
This latest development could be a sign toward a bigger beef between the two sides. Gould has previously expressed his desire for a long-term deal, but has also teased the idea of being open to returning to Chicago (enough qualifiers for you?), where he started his career and where his family and children live full-time – a point he drove home on several occasions when speaking about free agency in the offseason.
Then again, this could all be as simple as Gould knowing his way around the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If you recall, he was a long-time Players Association rep in Chicago, so if anyone knows the ins-and-outs, what he can and cannot do, or what’s mandatory and not, it’s Gould. And it’s not as if he’s going to miss a ton by skipping out on the strength and conditioning phase of the program.
But still … there’s (evidently) a rift between Gould and San Francisco that has yet to be resolved. Depending on who blinks first in this stare-down, there could be a trickle-down effect on the Bears. Because while Chicago has signed three free agent kickers for an open tryout this summer and could add a fourth to the mix on draft weekend, the team still has $17,622,024 in available salary cap space – which is more than enough for the team’s draft picks and a potential multi-year deal for a kicker who has made 96.5 percent of his kicks since leaving the Bears.
Let’s keep an eye on this situation as it develops. Stranger things have happened in NFL contract disputes, though one that could have a direct impact on the Bears makes it that much more interesting to follow.