Niners' Kicker Robbie Gould is Still Golden

Gould may be 36, but he showed in 2018 that he's in the prime of his career; with his contract expired, 49ers would be wise to bring him back on another two-year deal

He’s 36, balding and has been playing in the NFL since 2005 when he came out of Penn State, yet Robbie Gould still has a future to go with a lengthy past.

And as the 49ers look toward 2019, the team should probably invest again in Gould, who was one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL in 2018.

Gould could now become an unrestricted free agent after joining the Niners in 2017 on a two-year deal that has now expired. While the 49ers address additions to the offense and defense this offseason to fill the needs exposed in a 4-12 season, bringing Gould back on another deal – probably in the $4 million to $5 million range for two seasons – would seem to be a no-brainer.

In 2018, Gould hit 33 of 34 field-goal attempts – a league-leading 97.1 accuracy rating (though he did miss two of 29 extra-point attempts). In 2017, Gould led the NFL with 39 field goals made in 41 attempts (95.1 percent). Over two seasons he’s made all six of his field goal tries from 50 or more yards and is 26-of-28 between 40 and 49 yards. In 2018, he made 33 consecutive attempts at one point and ended the year with 23 straight.

Gould, who played his first 11 seasons with the Chicago Bears, has a career accuracy rate of 87.7 percent, which ranks No. 2 all-time to Justin Tucker (90.1 percent).

But perhaps Gould’s return to the 49ers isn’t a done deal. As several reporters in Chicago have noted recently (and many Bears fans, as well), Bears kicker Cody Parkey was the goat of the team’s recent playoff ouster, and Gould’s family has remained in Chicago while Gould played in the Bay Area. Will the Bears make a pitch for him to return?

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune wrote recently that he doesn’t believe it. Biggs noted that Parkey, even if cut, would cost the team more than $5 million in dead money against the salary cap, and that combined with what it would take to sign Gould would be too much money for the Bears to afford to pay Parkey and Gould.

But, there could be other suitors for Gould, too. So, it would seem smart for 49ers GM John Lynch to quickly re-sign Gould for 2019. The veteran kicker has shown age hasn’t bothered him a bit.

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