Is Robbie Gould’s time with the 49ers really over?
The 40-year-old kicker is a free agent and told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco that he will not return to the 49ers, and instead will test the free agent market.
But he and San Francisco have already done this dance, once before, in 2019. Gould was franchise tagged, declined the tender, and signed a four-year, $19 million deal.
The 49ers could tag him again this offseason on a one-year, $5.39 million deal, even if Gould says he’s heading elsewhere.
Matt Barrows of The Athletic doesn’t think Gould will go elsewhere.
He joined Murph and Mac on Monday, saying that he thinks Gould’s tactics are “standard” negotiation tactics, and expressed a sentiment that he and the 49ers were both trying to get the better of one another.
Barrows thinks it’s more likely than not Gould is back in red and gold next season:
We were in Indy last week, and it wasn’t unprompted, but John Lynch sort of volunteered that, you know, we’re in Indy, we gotta we got to look at the kickers. We’re evaluating these college kickers.
My BS detector went off a little bit, the needle was flickering a little and I thought to myself, ‘Okay, that’s a signal to Robbie.’
And then Robbie reacted like Robbie does, very strongly, and went to ESPN and said, you know, I’m not kicking for the 49ers next year. I’m gonna play elsewhere I’m going to test the market.
Now, there’s one team that’s going to be looking for a kicker, the 49ers. And they’ve already shown when they did this dance in 2019, that they were willing to pay big bucks for a guy who they thought was going to make big kicks in the playoffs. And that’s exactly what Robbie Gould is and what he’s done.
And so I think it’s a better than 50-50 chance that he’s back. That’s just my call. I don’t know any secret sauce, but that’s my guess.
What could be separating the two sides? Barrows thinks it’s a relatively small margin by NFL standards, roughly a million dollars per year.
“The 49ers certainly aren’t going into the six range,” Barrows said. “My guess is that Robbie Gould wants an average per year that starts with a five and the 49ers want an average per year that starts with a four. And the question is, is there another team out there that is willing to pay more than the 49ers are? And I really don’t know.”
If the 49ers can’t sign Gould, there are a handful of kickers in the NFL draft that would come into the league on a substantially cheaper deal than the 40-year-old. The one thing they’d have in common is that none of them have ever missed a postseason kick.
Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.