COMMENTARY | Among the many offseason priorities the San Francisco 49ers suddenly now have after the 34-31 loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII is the numerous free agents the team may or may not re-sign between now and the start of next season -- Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson is one of them.
Goldson is coming off another big season for the 49ers, with 69 total tackles and three interceptions in 2012-13, while being named to the AP NFL All-Pro First Team, as well as his second Pro Bowl selection.
The 49ers used the $6.212 million franchise tag on him last season, and it turned out to be a good move, considering the impact he has on a game-to-game basis.
However, using a 2013 franchise tag of $7.45 million on Goldson this offseason is a possibility, but it may not even be an option for the 49ers.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch is reporting that Goldson does not want the team's franchise tag again this offseason.
"There's no security in it. I've been in this league now six years, going on seven," Goldson said. "I think I've done what I've had to do to deserve a second contract, period. The franchise tag, it's cool. It's not that bad with the money, but everybody wants security.
Goldson wants a multi-year deal with an NFL team, preferably the 49ers, and he deserves it. He is a major player on the 49ers' defense and a key reason for why the team has the reputation it has for being a physical unit. He is also slowly becoming a reputable player in the NFL. The hard-hitting ball hawk creates fear in the wide receivers coming across the middle, as well as making hard-nosed tackles.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Matt Maiocco is reporting that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said as much on Tuesday.
"He's somebody that I think you reward," Harbaugh said. "You know he's out there, and opposing offenses know that he's out there. He tackles and does everything that you'd want a safety to do. I feel like you reward those types of people. Who do you reward if you don't reward those types of people?"
The 49ers have not been able to agree on a deal with Goldson in the last two years he has been a free agent, and it is not set in stone that the team will offer him the multi-year deal he covets -- especially with as many draft picks as the team holds in this year's NFL Draft. Obviously, the 49ers feel he is a risk at times on the field with his style of play, and slapping a long-term deal to a player like that could prove risky in the long run.
The 49ers do have players coming off the books, though, and the likely departure of backup quarterback Alex Smith could prove key in the re-signing of Goldson. Smith carries an $8.5 million salary in 2013, with $7.5 million guaranteed to him on April 1. If the 49ers can trade Smith, or even release him if there are no other options, then that frees up money for Goldson's multi-year deal.
Coincidentally, Smith and Goldson make nearly the same amount of money in 2013, and that could also play a large factor in the decision to re-up the Pro Bowl safety.
Considering how the 49ers have dealt with Goldson over the past two seasons, the 49ers will likely offer a deal to the 28-year-old between $8 and $9 million for around three years. It will be enough to give him the security he desires, but non-committal enough to prevent a disaster.
Goldson has played the last few seasons like a player deserving of a career-defining contract, and the 49ers are likely to reward him for the reputation he has brought to the hard-hitting San Francisco defense.
Scott Semmler is a senior at San Jose State University that has covered nearly every Bay Area professional sports team, including the San Francisco Giants' 2012 World Series title.