SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers' most-notable scheduled free agent got a nice boost from his defensive coordinator on Thursday.Safety Dashon Goldson is playing this season under the 49ers' franchise tag. The 49ers are prohibited from negotiating a long-term deal with him until after the final regular-season game. Goldson's asking price certainly is not coming down, based on how he performed over the first eight games of the season.RELATED: Dashon Goldson stats 2012 game logs
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who served four seasons on the Baltimore coaching staff, said Goldson ranks up there with Ravens safety Ed Reed, who has earned eight trips to the Pro Bowl and five first-team All-Pro selections in his first 10 NFL seasons.
"Ed Reed's a little different guy, the way he's always played safety," Fangio said. "Ed's got tremendous instincts and a great feel for the ball, tremendous ball skills. And Ed's one of the best safeties in this era the last 10, 15 years, for sure. But Dashon, I think, is right up there with him."Sources over the past two years have told CSNBayArea.com that Goldson sought a long-term contract for 8 million annually when he first became a free agent in 2011. He ended up signing a one-year, 2 million deal to return to the 49ers that season.
Last year, he fired his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and hired Ben Dogra. The 49ers placed the franchise tag on Goldson at a cost of 6.212 million for one season. The sides did not come together on a long-term deal.
Goldson, who could've delayed signing the tender, reported to training camp on time. And he has produced in a big way."He played well for us last year," Fangio said. "I think he's even playing better this year. Is it any one thing or area? No. I think he's doing everything a little bit better. And that's saying a lot because he was a Pro Bowl safety for us last year."Goldson has two interceptions and six passes defensed. He has forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. He has also shown an uncanny ability to line up 15 yards deep in the secondary, immediately diagnose a run play and make aggressive tackles near the line of scrimmage.Even if the sides are unable to work out a long-term extension in the offseason, the 49ers can secure Goldson's services again with the franchise tag. The cost would be a reasonable one-year, 7.45 million contract -- or a 120-percent raise over his salary this season.
So, in other words, despite being scheduled for unrestricted free agency next year, Goldson does not figure to be going anywhere in 2013.