COMMENTARY | The deadline for teams to place the franchise tag on players came and went on Monday. As expected, safety Dashon Goldson was not one of the players tagged by the San Francisco 49ers. In fact, no player was tagged by the team this offseason.
For the 49ers, there was essentially no need to use the franchise tag on any of their potential free agents. San Francisco would have had to pay Goldson $7.45 million if they tagged him for the second year in a row, and other candidates like Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean Francois and Delanie Walker could be easily replaced or were simply not worth the tag.
There is still hope for Goldson starting at safety for the 49ers next season, though. At least Jed York, the CEO of the 49ers thinks so.
York responded to a tweet by Goldson on Tuesday in which Goldson said he is "very thankful I didn't get the franchise tag again but still hopeful this means something long term with the San Francisco 49ers!"
York responded via Twitter in support of the two sides coming together this offseason.
"Hope we can get something done," he said.
Goldson will now enter free agency on March 12 where he is expected to receive offers for more than the $7.45 million per year the franchise tag would have paid him. It will also give him more job security, as a long-term contract is clearly a large priority for Goldson -- something the 49ers have presumably had hesitations about.
The 28-year-old wants to be paid top dollar at his position this offseason, which appears to be a problem for the 49ers. The highest-paid player on the 49ers' roster next season will be Justin Smith at $7.5 million. With San Francisco already turning down an opportunity to acquire Goldson's services for $7.45 million, it is unlikely a deal could be reached for anything more -- especially if Goldson wants more money for more years.
The 49ers have several options when it comes to replacing Goldson at safety, though. The 2013 NFL Draft is considered one of the deeper drafts in quite a few years, and safety is one of the highlighted positions of talent.
The 49ers will have their pick of the litter at the No. 31 and No. 34 overall picks, with an opportunity to trade up to draft touted safeties Kenny Vaccaro or Xavier Rhodes in the middle of the first round with a total of 15 draft picks.
Notable safeties available in free agency include Charles Woodson, Louis Delmas and William Moore, but all signs point to the 49ers acquiring a safety via the draft.
Losing Goldson is not the end of the world for the 49ers and their relentless hard-hitting defense. The safety duo of Goldson and Donte Whitner was exposed repeatedly during the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl victory over San Francisco, and now is the time for the 49ers to restructure a part of their defense that is arguably the most crucial to next season's success.
Scott Semmler is a senior at San Jose State University fortunate enough to have covered nearly every Bay Area professional sports team, including the San Francisco Giants' 2012 World Series title. Follow him on Twitter @ScottSemmler22.
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