David Akers released by 49ers

USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have announced the release of kicker David Akers.

On Wednesday, March 6, the San Francisco 49ers announced the release of kicker David Akers. The former All-Pro kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles signed a three-year, $9 million contract in 2011.

For more on the San Francisco 49ers, visit Niners Nation

Akers had a down year in 2012, where the veteran placekicker saw career-lows across the board. He had one more year left on his original deal that would have paid him $3.05 million, which the 49ers did not feel was best for them at this time.

49ers general manager Trent Baalke released a statement:

The 49ers would like to thank David for his service, dedication and leadership over the past two years. He is a true professional who represented himself and this organization with class. We wish him, and his family, all the best.

Akers had an unbelievable year in his first go-round with the 49ers, and San Francisco fans will not forget that. However, he cost them points and put the team in bad situations throughout his second campaign. And even when Jim Harbaugh showed faith in him, Akers' struggles continued well into the postseason.

Now, the team can look to the free-agent market, where kickers like Phil Dawson, Jason Hanson and Rob Bironas will be available. All three kickers come from decorated backgrounds, but have yet to taste true team success. Each one of these veteran kickers might be looking to finish their career with a contender, which is why any one of them may see offers from San Francisco.

The Niners can also look to the draft for a prospect like Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins. Although it would cost them a draft pick, it would be a long-term solution that would likely pay off down the line.

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