Akers unlikely to return

Akers unlikely to return
March 4, 2013, 9:15 am
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David Akers is scheduled to make $3 million in 2013. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

If the 49ers return to the Super Bowl next season, they will likely have a new field goal kicker.

In an attempt to clear more cap room, the 49ers will release David Akers before March 12, according to a report by TheSidelineView.com's Adam Caplan. The 38-year-old place kicker is scheduled to make $3 million in 2013.

Following a Pro Bowl 2011 season in which he set an NFL record with 44 field goals and scored a 49ers-record 166 points, Akers struggled in 2012. The 13-year veteran made just 69.0 percentage (29 of 42), the lowest percentage since 2000 when he became a full-time kicker.

During the 2012 season, the 49ers became so concerned with Akers that they brought in two veterans, Nate Kaeding and Billy Cundiff, to tryout to be Akers' replacement. Neither impressed Jim Harbaugh enough to replace Akers. Kaeding is an unrestricted free agent and could potentially get another chance to impress the 49ers. Other free agent kickers include Phil Dawson, Rob Bironas and Lawrence Tynes.

If the 49ers decide to target a kicker in the upcoming draft, there are a few options. Florida State's Dustin Hopkins and Florida's Caleb Sturgis are the top two kickers in the draft according to ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr.