Safety Dashon Goldson is considered the leading candidate to be designated as the 49ers' franchise player for a second year in a row. But it's no certainty the 49ers will restrict his free-agent status again this season, a league source told CSNBayArea.com.
NFL teams have two weeks, beginning today, to place the franchise tag on players. The 49ers have yet to inform Goldson's agent of their intentions.
It would cost the 49ers $7.45 million to lock Goldson up with the franchise designation for the 2013 season. The sides are expected to continue to discuss a long-term contract.
Also, the 49ers would have to create salary-cap space to fit Goldson's franchise tag under the projected $121 million salary cap for 2013.
Alex Smith's $8.5 million contract is a logical place to start, but the club wants to first investigate the possibility of a trade. The NFL trade period begins with the opening of the new league year on March 12, when all teams must be cap compliant.
This is Goldson's third consecutive season as an unrestricted free agent. After attracting little attention on the open market after the lockout of 2011, he returned to the 49ers on a one-year, $2 million contract.
He responded with a Pro Bowl season but was unable to get a long-term deal worked out with the 49ers, who tagged him as their franchise player for one year at $6.212 million.
After his second straight Pro Bowl season, Goldson made it clear he believes he has earned a long-term contract with the 49ers. Thus far, the sides have not been able to agree on a fair price.
[REWIND: Goldson seeks security of long-term deal]
Last year with the franchise tag, Goldson did not take part in the offseason program but reported to training camp on time to sign the contract. With a higher level of frustration, would Goldson report on time for camp this summer?
While Goldson remains an option to be tagged, indications are that it's not a sure thing. Goldson would almost certainly attract the kind of contract on the open market that the 49ers have been unwilling to pay.