Dashon Goldson spent the past two seasons playing for the San Francisco 49ers on a pair of one-year contracts. But with Monday’s deadline for all NFL teams to use their franchise tag having passed, don’t expect that to be the case in 2013.
At this time a year ago, the Niners’ front office slapped Goldson with the tag, locking him down for the 2012 season at the price of $6.2 million. It has long been known the 28-year-old free safety is only interested in a long-term deal, but he used the lack of long-term security as motivation and responded with what was arguably the finest campaign of his career.
With the franchise tag now out of the question, there is a very real possibility that Goldson will be suiting up in an entirely different uniform this upcoming season.
It’s truly hard to predict how this situation will play out, too. The Niners need him back and have made it known their intentions are to lock him up long-term. But they are also aware that the All-Pro safety expects to receive every penny of what he’s worth, and maybe even a little extra, which is a demand San Fran may be unwilling or just flat out unable to meet from a financial standpoint.
There are plenty of reasons for GM Trent Baalke and Co. to want Goldson to continue his career in the Bay Area. He’s a ball-hawk (hence his nickname, “The Hawk”), his bone-crushing hits bring back memories of Ronnie Lott, and he’s one of the top run-stopping safeties you’ll find in the NFL.
Goldson has also cut down on coverage breakdowns that plagued him earlier in his career, though they did reappear occasionally this past season. Nevertheless, there is a level of chemistry between Goldson, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and the rest of the defense that would be difficult to replace.
Basically, losing Goldson to free agency would make one lucky NFL franchise very happy. But they may have to dish out a boatload of cash, something the 49ers may wisely decline to do, in order to land him.
Ultimately, Goldson will likely have to decide whether he wants to shave a small chunk of cash off his asking price (whatever it may be, likely in the 5-year, $35-40 million range) to stay in San Francisco and compete for a Super Bowl now, or go sign a mega-deal for a team with an impatient owner who is running a losing team, but is desperate to turn it around in a hurry.
After spending the first six years of his career in Red and Gold, one can only hope the ever-improving Goldson will help the 49ers meet him somewhere in the middle and his career can carry on with the team that drafted him.