Safety Dashon Goldson set out to earn a long-term deal in 2012 and he believes he’s done just that. Do the San Francisco 49ers feel the same? Do you agree that the Niners should finally show Goldson the money one season after slapping him with the franchise tag? If you answered yes, you’re likely on the same page as the 49ers’ brass.
Jim Harbaugh believes Goldson deserves to be rewarded for his overall performance in Red and Gold and it’s hard to disagree. Top-tier safeties are hard to come by in the NFL, especially one who is under 30 years old and owns multiple Pro Bowl nominations.
In 16 regular season games this year, Goldson recorded 69 total tackles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions and a career-high 11 passes defended. The 28-year-old is a valuable run-stopper in addition to his superb skills in the secondary. He can diagnose a run play at the snap and meet a ball-carrier at the line of scrimmage in no time.
Goldson is truly a rare commodity in terms of raw speed and athleticism at the free safety position. That said, there are downsides to his game and playing style. Whenever a breakdown in coverage occurs, there’s a good chance he was the culprit. Also, his love for hard hits and excessive trash talking often result in drive-extending penalties that keep the defense on the field longer than necessary.
In comparing his 2011 season to 2012, Goldson improved in pass coverage immensely. His lapses in coverage occurred far less often, though a more conservative approach did lead to a lower interception total.
He continued to be a force from a physical standpoint, punishing one receiver after another game in and game out, reminding the 49ers faithful of the days when Ronnie Lott roamed the gridiron.
Also, the 49ers have the 31st pick in the first round of the NFL draft and won’t be spending a ton of money in free agency. Therefore it is highly unlikely they’ll be able to replace Goldson with an equally talented safety and anyone brought in will need time to adjust to Vic Fangio’s complex defensive schemes.
Such a move could potentially threaten San Francisco’s dream of returning to the Super Bowl in 2014.
Financially, though, re-signing Goldson could be tricky. The Niners are loaded with All-Pro-caliber talent and have to be smart about how and where they spend. The franchise tag paid Goldson $6.212 million in 2012 and he’ll likely command at least that per year while asking for four or five years in length.
The Niners have made a habit of rewarding players they feel deserving of a long-term deal. They wanted Goldson to prove his worth before dishing out the cash and he feels his performance was sufficient.
At this point, it’s probably only a matter of time before a deal in the ballpark of what he’s desiring comes his way.