49ers reach deal with kicker Gould

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Cam In­man

Kicker Rob­bie Gould agreed to a multi-year deal with the 49ers hours ahead of Mon­day’s NFL dead­line for fran­chise­tagged play­ers to do so, league sources con­firmed.

Had Gould not come to terms, he would have played this year for a $4.97 mil­lion salary that ranked as the NFL’s high­est for a kicker.

In­stead, he’s landed a twoyear, $10.5 mil­lion deal that is fully guar­an­teed, with an op­tion of be­com­ing a four-year, $19 mil­lion deal ($15 mil­lion guar­an­teed).

Gould, 36, re­quested a trade in April from the 49ers af­ter two ban­ner sea­sons in terms of ac­cu­racy (72 of 75 field-goal at­tempts) and clutch kicks (al­beit for a team that won only 10 of 32 games).

Gould, who re­cently built a home in the Chicago area with his wife and three young sons, vowed to play closer to his fam­ily, and he cleared up last week that he’s never openly asked for an en­core with the Bears.

Gould earned $4 mil­lion the past two sea­sons, and ne­go­ti­a­tions on a long-term ex­ten­sion have taken place the past 18 months, cul­mi­nat­ing with Mon­day’s news, as con­firmed by Gould’s agent, Brian Mack­ler.

Gould’s hard­line stance and the 49ers’ shrewd abil­ity to fran­chise-tag him worked for both sides. The en­su­ing deal, first re­ported by ESPN, ri­vals the league’s top-pay­ing one signed in April by the Bal­ti­more Ravens’ Justin Tucker (four years, $20 mil­lion; $12.5 mil­lion guar­an­teed).

“Rob­bie is a guy who we re­spect in a big way for the way he’s per­formed for us, for the team­mate he’s been, and we’re hope­ful that we can fig­ure some­thing out to keep him here for a long time,” gen­eral man­ager John Lynch said in April.

Coach Kyle Shana­han sounded in April that he didn’t ex­pect a multi-year deal but rather the fran­chise-tag ten­der, not­ing: “We love hav­ing Rob­bie here. We un­der­stand that he doesn’t want to live here long-term and he’s made that clear to us, and we get that . ... No hard feel­ings about that. I do un­der­stand his rea­sons. But, pretty ex­cited to have a good kicker this year.”

Train­ing camp opens July 26. Gould skipped the 49ers off­sea­son pro­gram and trained on his own in Chicago; he placed 23rd Sun­day in the Amer­i­can Cen­tury Cham­pi­onship celebrity golf tour­na­ment at Edge­wood Ta­hoe.

Gould will have a new holder in rookie Mitch Wish­nowsky, whom the 49ers drafted in the fourth round out of Utah for his punt­ing prow­ess. “He’s ab­so­lutely one of the best holders that I’ve seen com­ing out of col­lege,” spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor Richard Hightower said last month.

At long snap­per, Colin Holba returns be­fore that role returns to Kyle Nel­son, who was re­signed this off­sea­son but has six games re­main­ing on a sus­pen­sion for per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing drugs.

Jon Brown, 26, han­dled the 49ers’ kick­ing du­ties in Gould’s place dur­ing the off­sea­son work­outs; Brown has never kicked in a reg­u­lar-sea­son game but he made all six field-goal at­tempts in the Cincin­nati Ben­gals ex­hi­bi­tions last sum­mer.

Gould ex­pressed no ur­gency to re-sign with the 49ers ahead of Mon­day’s dead­line, when in­ter­viewed last week at Lake Ta­hoe. Gould noted that if a multi-year deal wasn’t bro­kered, his en­su­ing sta­tus “is up to me,” in terms of when he chooses to re­port.

“I’m not go­ing to com­mit to mak­ing any de­ci­sion right now,” Gould said. “... I’ve been through sev­eral hold­outs, I’ve been through a lock­out sea­son, I’ve been through not be­ing on a team and show­ing up in Week 6.

“I’d say there is nothing that scares me any­more in Year 15, be­cause I feel I’ve been through it all.”

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San Fran­cisco 49ers' Rob­bie Gould (9) kicks a 36-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 16, 2018 in Santa Clara.

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