The 49ers could be looking hard at place kickers in free agency and the NFL Draft.
Robbie Gould, who arrived in 2017 the same year coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took over, plans on playing somewhere else in 2023 according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Veteran kicker Robbie Gould said today that, as much as he enjoyed his last six seasons in San Francisco, he will test free agency later this month and be kicking elsewhere in 2023.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 4, 2023
In six seasons with the 49ers, Gould converted 161 of 184 field goal attempts (87.5 percent) and 379 out of 383 extra point attempts (99 percent).
More impressively, Gould, 40, has never missed a place kick in 16 postseason games with the Chicago Bears, New York Giants (one season) and 49ers going 29-for-29 on field goal attempts and 39-for-39 on extra points.
On the day the 49ers cleaned out their lockers following a 31-7 championship game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Gould gave mixed signals as to his intentions. He said it would be “awesome” to if the 49ers brought him back for a seventh season while also noting that “unique” opportunities awaited himself elsewhere entering his 19th season.
Either way, it was clear Gould was not contemplating retirement. He has tested free agency twice in his career, signing with the Giants in 2016 and the 49ers in 2017.
“I was 35-of-40 (on field goal attempts) with two blocks. I kicked off at 40 years old, which I want to say is unheard of, but usually doesn’t happen that often. I still have some pop left.”
The 49ers could in theory place a franchise tag on Gould at a price of $5.39 million for the season. They used that tactic in 2019, with Gould refusing to sign the tender and asking for a trade. He was eventually signed to a contract which was renegotiated the following season.
The 49ers paid Gould a $4 million salary in 2022 with a prorated bonus number of more than $1.5 million for a cap number of $5,509,313 according to overthecap.com.
The deadline for teams to use the franchise tag is Tuesday.
Other veteran kickers expected to be available in free agency include Green Bay’s Mason Crosby, Arizona’s Matt Prater and the New York Giants’ Greg Zuerlein.
There will be plenty of opportunities to select a kicker in the draft. The 49ers don’t pick until No. 99, but have three picks in the third, three in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the seventh. Christopher Dunn of North Carolina State, winner of the Lou Groza Award as the nation’ top kicker, is considered the top prospect in the draft.
Gould’s family lives in the Chicago area in the offseason.