Niners sign Robbie Gould to 4-year, $19M contract

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Robbie Gould is staying in San Francisco long-term after all.

The kicker and the 49ers agreed in principle on a long-term contract, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday morning, per a source informed of the situation. The team later made the news official.

"Over the years, Robbie has established himself as one of the best at his position in the NFL, which is precisely why we were so committed to working out a new contract with him," said general manager John Lynch, according to the team's website.

Sides had until today's 4 p.m. ET deadline to hammer out a multi-year solution otherwise the veteran kicker would have played 2019 under the $4.971 million franchise tag.

The four-year pact is worth $19 million, with the first two years fully guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the deal. The $4.75 million per year average makes him the second-highest-paid kicker in the NFL -- behind only Ravens' Justin Tucker.

The two fully guaranteed years are worth $10.5 million at signing, Pelissero added. The figure makes sense, as it's about what the kicker would have made if he played the next two seasons on the franchise tags.

The final two years of the contract are team options. Per Pelissero, the 49ers must decide whether to fully guarantee half of Gould's $4.5 million salary for 2021 before Week 16 of the 2020 season, and the other half by the following April. The timing of the decision favors Gould's camp (the earlier teams must decide on an option the better), while the figures at the end of the deal skew team-friendly.

Gould seemed poised to force his way out of San Francisco eventually. The kicker requested a trade earlier this offseason, which the Niners organization vociferously rebuffed. The 36-year-old kicker, who spent his first 11 seasons with the Bears, seemed to pine for a return to Chicago, where his family still lives. Today's news is cause for 49ers fans to celebrate and Bears fans to shed a wistful tear.

Gould sat out of the 49ers' workouts this offseason. His comments about leaving seemed to pin the Niners into a corner. They could have acquiesced to his trade desires, allowed the sticky situation to persist for a year then watched one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL walk away, or ante up and pay him in line with his worth. The 49ers chose the latter option, which settles their kicker situation for the next few seasons at least.

Since being cut by the Bears in 2016 after two down seasons, Gould has been one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL. Over the past three seasons, he's nailed 82 of 85 field goal attempts. Last year -- his second in San Francisco -- Gould finished with the highest field goal rate among kickers with more than seven attempts, connected on 33 of 34 tries.

Gould's reliability makes him a weapon that San Francisco could not allow to walk away.

Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have been steadfast all offseason that Gould was part of the team's long-term plans. Monday's deadline-day deal underscored that despite the posturing from the kicker, money talks, and the 49ers ponied up.

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