Two days after the Super Bowl, Dashon Goldson said he didn't want the franchise tag for the second year in a row. Despite the franchise tag's decent pay, Goldson wants a long-term plan rather than a one-year solution.
"I felt that they wanted me to prove myself, and I think I did just that," the safety said as he was cleaning out his locker. "So if I was in the position again with the franchise tag, I'd be very surprised."
Today, he will get his wish as the 49ers did not use the franchise tag on Goldson. They currently have only $1 million in cap space, but will gain $9.75 million when Alex Smith is traded to the Kansas City Chiefs on March 12. There will be another $3 million in space when David Akers is expected to be released at the start of free agency.
Recently, the 49ers have given long-term contracts to core defensive players. All four starting linebackers Ahmad Brooks, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith are locked until the end of the 2015 season. Bowman signed an extension that will keep him with the team through the 2018 season.
Goldson has been asking for a long-term deal similar to what Chargers safety Eric Weddle makes in his contract of five years $40 million. At the combine general manager Trent Baalke has not gone committal on certain players, but admitted it will be a huge decision to bring back players or let them walk.
"It's all about value, making sure you get the right value on players," said Baalke. "You can't pay everybody, and you certainly can't pay everybody if you're overpaying others."
TE Delanie Walker, DE/NT Ricky Jean Francois and NT Isaac Sopoaga are also free agents this month. The 49ers would like to retain Walker and either Jean Francois or Sopoaga depending on what the open market prefers.
Baalke said extensions are not easy to come by. It is an agreement that both the team and the players' side need to make.
"[It] takes both sides to be able to come together on a number," said Baalke. "And sometimes you're able to do that, and sometimes you're not. We're going to work hard at it, be diligent at it, but we're also going to make sure we make good decisions."