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Safety Dashon Goldson has been a hard-hitting member of the 49ers defense in two very successful consecutive seasons. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
When it comes to NFL contract negotiations, nothing is certain.
Always, there can be bumps in the road that can throw good intentions off track.
But for 49ers free agent-to-be Dashon Goldson, a tweet from team CEO Jed York to you that says, “Hope we can get something done” has to be encouraging.
That’s what happened very late Monday night, after the 49ers allowed the deadline to pass for putting the franchise tag on a player. Goldson, who’d been given the tag by the 49ers last season, was hoping not to be tagged by the team this year, but wants to remain with San Francisco on a longer-term deal.
Goldson himself tweeted Monday: “I’m very thankful I didn’t get the franchise tag again but still hopeful this means something long term with the San Francisco 49ers!”
Then York sent out his message to Goldson hours later.
Goldson has been a key member of a Niners defensive unit that has been outstanding the past two seasons, earning the first two Pro Bowl selections of his career in 2011 and 2012. Now he’s seeking a long-term deal that would put him among the league’s highest-paid safeties.
He says he’s never really gotten an indication what the team’s plans for him may be. Back in November, he told the San Francisco Chronicle: “I’m doing the right things on and off the field, but I don’t know. I don’t hear it. I don’t hear stuff like, ‘We’re really happy.’ I don’t get that assurance. So you don’t ever know. You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
But a tweet from the CEO must now give Goldson a ray of hope that he might be able to stay with a team that is on an upward arc, having reached the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl in consecutive seasons.
Should the Niners allow Goldson to depart – if a deal can’t be reached – the team has as many as 15 draft choices in April’s selection process, and might have a safety in mind. Or the team could dip into the free-agent pool or give one of its current younger players a chance to grow into the job.
Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, suggested that C.J. Spillman, who excelled at special teams in 2012, might be in line to compete for the job if Goldson goes.
“He is every bit as hard-hitting and aggressive as Goldson, and the 49ers have used him in goal-line and short-yardage situations the last two years,” wrote Barrows. But, he noted, “He lacks game-day experience and to this point has been more of a tackler/enforcer than a player who understands the nuances of coverage.”
Goldson, meanwhile, has been outstanding. He’s started 62 of 64 games in the NFL since 2009 and has teamed with Donte Whitner to give his team a pair of punishing tacklers in the secondary.
Will he be in a 49ers uniform come opening day this September? That’s still to be determined.
But York’s tweet certainly indicates the 49ers are interested in getting something done.