Goldson must play this year on $6.2 million offer
Ray Rice and Matt Forte got what they wanted Monday: long-term contracts that sometimes elude NFL running backs. But the long-term contract Dashon Goldson was looking for from the 49ers did not become a reality, and the Pro Bowl free safety will be forced to play for the team in 2012 on a one-year deal.
Like Goldson, neither Rice nor Forte was enamored of playing under the franchise tag tender in 2012, and negotiations went down to the wire. Then Rice scored big with the Baltimore Ravens, getting $40 million for five years, while Forte took a four-year, $32 million deal with the Chicago Bears.
Goldson, meanwhile, did not score the big-money deal he was hoping to agree upon with the Niners.
He must now play this season one a one-year, $6.212 million deal after the sides failed to reach an agreement Monday, the deadline for franchise players to sign multi-year deals according to the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement. The 49ers designated Goldson as their franchise player earlier this year.
Of the 21 individuals designated as franchise players in 2012, Goldson is one of nine who did not reach a long-term deal with his team and must play this season on the one-year franchise tender offer. Goldson has not yet signed his deal. The 49ers begin training camp with their first practice of the summer on July 27.
This will be the second consecutive season Goldson will play on a one-year deal. The 49ers reportedly offered Goldson a five-year, $20 million deal last year, Goldson first year as an unrestricted free agent. He eventually returned to the team in August on a one-year, $2 million deal. In his five seasons with the 49ers, Goldson has earned approximately $4.7 million in salary.
The Niners also reserve the right to place the franchise designation on Goldson again in 2013. They could tender him as a franchise player next year at $7.45 million, 120 percent of Goldson’s 2012 salary.
Goldson gained some bargaining power in 2011 with the best season of his career, when he ranked second in the NFC with six interceptions and was sixth on the team with 80 tackles.
Also getting a longer contract just before Monday’s deadline was Jacksonville placekicker Josh Scobee, who will stay with the Jaguars for four years and $13.8 million.
But Rice and Forte were the big winners. Rice led the NFL with 2,068 yards from scrimmage in making his second Pro Bowl last season. He helped the Ravens to their second AFC title game in his four pro seasons.
Although his numbers aren't quite at Rice's level, Forte is just as significant a contributor in Chicago's offense. Had he stayed healthy in 2011, he might have matched Rice, too.
Forte made the Pro Bowl for the first time, finishing with 1,487 yards from scrimmage, 997 rushing. He missed the final four games after spraining his right knee in a loss to Kansas City. The Bears lost all but one of those games, falling out of playoff contention.
Each of them would have played for the $7.74 million franchise tag – the average of the five highest-paid players at running back – had they not gotten the new contracts.
Scobee's tender would have been worth $2.88 million for 2012. His new deal is worth $3.45 million annually, with $4.75 million guaranteed. There are $400,000 worth of incentives Scobee could reach.
Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski ($4 million annually) and Phil Dawson ($3.81 million) are the only kickers scheduled to make more than Scobee in 2012. His new deal tops recent ones signed by Tampa Bay's Connor Barth ($3.3 million) and Denver's Matt Prater ($3.25 million), who both were franchised.
Players including Goldson who are stuck with their one-year tenders are Lions defensive end Cliff Avril, $10.6 million tender; Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, $10.2 million; Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, $9.5 million; Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer, $8.8 million; Redskins tight end Fred Davis, $5.446 million; Browns placekicker Phil Dawson, $3.8 million; and Bengals PK Mike Nugent, one year, $2.6 million.
Altogether, 12 players landed long-term contracts, led by the Saints giving quarterback Drew Brees the richest annual deal in NFL history. The 2011 Offensive Player of the Year signed a five-year, $100 million agreement; only Buffalo DE Mario Williams has gotten that much money, and his deal is for six years.
Arizona DE Calais Campbell received the next most lucrative deal (five years, $55 million), followed by Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson (five years, $51 million). Colts defensive end Robert Mathis got a four-year, $36 million deal, with Titans safety Michael Griffin getting the same amount over five years. Raiders safety Tyvon Branch was next at four years, $26 million, a deal that appeared might be a blueprint for a long-term deal for Goldson.
But that did not happen.