With Goldson set to hit free agency and the 49ers not budging on their stance of not using the franchise tag on him this year, that contract could come from a different NFL team. Goldson has been with the 49ers since he entered the league as a rookie in 2007, when the 49ers drafted him in the fourth round.
Goldson could be one of the top free agents to hit the market this offseason. Before we talk about where he's at here and now, we'll take a look at his situation over the past few seasons.
In 2009, Goldson became the starter for the 49ers, and he played pretty well. He picked up a lot of tackles, forced three fumbles and picked off four passes. He was the unquestioned starter heading into 2010. Following the 2010 season, the 49ers attempted to get him signed to a multi-year deal that would have payed him about $5 million per year.
At that point, Goldson felt that he was worthy of top safety money, and he declined the contract. San Francisco elected to let him test the market, and after a brief flirtation period with the New England Patriots, he found the market had dried up. Eventually, his agent sent out a notice to teams suggesting that he'd take a one-year deal in the range of $3 million.
Nobody bit, and Goldson came back to the 49ers on a one-year, $2 million contract. It wasn't what he was after, but he did do right by the contract in 2011, picking off six passes in 14 games played, and making the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.
Goldson and the 49ers attempted to work out a long-term deal, but he continually insisted that he was after "Eric Weddle money," and the 49ers instead used the franchise tag on him. This past season, he made the Pro Bowl again, and now he's looking at free agency.
San Francisco is hesitant to use the franchise tag on him, and Goldson has not moved away from thinking he deserves top safety money.
But is he a top safety? That's an interesting question, given his body of work thus far. His 2011 season was much better than his 2012 season, and he's kind of a "boom or bust" player. He makes some very impressive plays in the passing game with some big hits, but he can disappear for long stretches of time.
He has a tendency to get lost in the secondary if he doesn't have enough support from the cornerbacks and he gets penalized for his aggressive style of play often. You'll also find a wide difference of opinion on Goldson depending on who you ask.
Some believe that he's a top flight safety who can make plays in the passing and the running game, and some believe he makes too many big mistakes that cost the team. In 2012, he seemed to make less of those big mistakes, for what that's worth.
Goldson is in an interesting place when it comes to the market right now. The NFL Draft has been light on safety talent in recent years, but it's actually quite deep this time around. Teams might not be willing to pay top dollar for Goldson if they think they are in a good position to land one of the top young talents at a fraction of the cost.