All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson's career with the 49ers could be coming to an end.
The 49ers decided to not use the franchise tag this offseason. The two-week window for NFL teams to designate a franchise player expired on Monday.
Goldson, a two-time Pro Bowl player, was the most likely 49ers candidate for the tag. There was also some consideration given to applying the tag to backup tight end Delanie Walker.
When the 49ers failed to work out a long-term contract extension last offseason with Goldson, the 49ers placed the franchise tag on him. He earned $6.2 million on the one-year deal. The 49ers could have restricted Goldson this offseason with a franchise tag of $7.45 million.
Shortly after the deadline passed on Monday Goldson Tweeted:
Thank you jesus. Now fly like a bird #hawk— Dashon Goldson(@thehawk38) March 4, 2013
I'm very thankful I didn't get the franchise tag again but still hopeful this means something long term with the San Francisco 49ers!— Dashon Goldson(@thehawk38) March 4, 2013
Goldson is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 12, at which point he will be free to sign with any team. Goldson came to the 49ers as a fourth-round draft pick in 2007. He has been a starter the past four seasons.
In helping the 49ers advance to the Super Bowl this past season, Goldson was fourth on the 49ers with 109 tackles while leading the team with three interceptions.
Goldson expressed his desire to sign a long-term contract at the conclusion of the season. And coach Jim Harbaugh publicly supported Goldson's case.
"He's somebody that I think that you reward," Harbaugh said. "Plays every game. Can find the ball. You know that he's out there. And opposing offenses know that he's out there. And he tackles and does everything that you'd want a safety to do. And, yeah, I feel like you reward those type of people. Who do you reward if you don't reward those type of people?"
Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman, Trenton Robinson and Michael Thomas are the other safeties currently on the 49ers' roster. The 2013 draft is regarded as a strong class at the safety position.
Here's the list of the 49ers who are scheduled for unrestricted free agency:
OL Leonard Davis
WR Ted Ginn
S Dashon Goldson
LB Tavares Gooden
LB Larry Grant
LB Clark Haggans
NT Ricky Jean Francois
WR Randy Moss
NT Isaac Sopoaga
TE Delanie Walker