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On Tuesday, Robbie Gould did something unprecedented for a kicker: demand a trade while on the franchise tag. After Gould’s incredible two-year stretch with the 49ers, he has as much leverage as a kicker can have, but apparently not enough for the 49ers to budge.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the 49ers don’t plan to trade Gould.
Meanwhile, the #Ravens just announced they locked up All-Pro K Justin Tucker on a contract extension. This will also impact the #49ers and K Robbie Gould, who is on (unsigned) the franchise tag and sources say will not be traded.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 24, 2019
This has turned into a situation that has seemingly reached an impasse.
On Monday, 49ers general manager John Lynch confidently spoke about Gould returning to the team. The 49ers applied their franchise tag to Gould, who would make around $5 million in 2019. He has not yet signed the franchise tender.
“I think there’s a few things that make me feel really good,” Lynch said. “First of all, Robbie is extremely good at what he does, and I think the last couple of years have been indicative of that. Robbie’s a guy who works extremely hard at his craft. By virtue of that position, he can do that wherever he is. He can do it in Santa Clara, he can do it in Chicago, he can do it wherever he is and I’m sure Robbie’s doing that.
“Robbie’s going to be a part of us this coming year, I know that. We would like it to be longer than that. We’ve made an attempt to make that happen. We haven’t come to an agreement as of yet and we’ll see where that goes, but Robbie will be a part of us this coming year. We’re excited for that because he’s very good at what he does and he’s also a big part of this team.”
Maybe that galvanized Gould into putting his foot down after months of failed contract negotiations. After speaking with Gould, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that “if he reports at all, it will not be before the 49ers’ Sept. 8 regular-season opener, making him a summer-long franchise holdout.”
“The bottomline is, I’m unsure if I want to play there anymore,” Gould told Schefter. “At this point, I have to do what’s best for me and my family back home.”
It has become clear that Gould would like to return to Chicago, where his permanent home and family resides. Gould, the Bears’ all-time leading scorer, has spent the offseason in the city where he played 11 of his 14 NFL seasons. Last month, the Bears released the inconsistent Cody Parkey, who missed a game-winner in the NFC Divisional Round in January, making a reunion with Gould sensible.
But the 49ers have not been willing to part from historic production. In his two years with the 49ers, Gould connected on 72 of 75 field goal attempts, the most accurate two-year stretch for a kicker with at least 50 attempts in NFL history.
The Gould conundrum puts the 49ers in a difficult spot with the 2019 NFL Draft beginning Thursday.