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49ers nearing decision deadline on Gould's future as kicker

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The 49ers’ difficult offseason of roster decisions reaches its first deadline on the eve of the team’s final regular-season game.

The 49ers must decide on the future of kicker Robbie Gould no later than Saturday, Jan. 2.

“I know we'll have a decision by then,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week.

If the 49ers pick up the option before the final game of the regular season against the Seattle Seahawks, the club would commit to guaranteeing $2.25 million of Gould’s $4.5 million salary for 2021.

Then, on April 1, another $2.25 million for the 2022 season becomes guaranteed.

If the 49ers decline the first option, they would save $3.75 million against the 2021 cap.

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The 49ers originally tagged Gould as their franchise player in 2019 before working out a contract extension that makes him the second-highest-paid kicker in the league behind Baltimore’s Justin Tucker. Gould’s deal averages $4.75 million, while Tucker makes an average of $5 million annually.

Complicating matters of the team’s decision with Gould are two factors:

1). The salary cap could drop approximately $20 million due to revenue losses during the COVID-19 pandemic;

2). The 49ers have a number of significant free agents to prioritize re-signing, including tackle Trent Williams, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, defensive lineman Kerry Hyder, and cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett and K’Waun Williams. In addition, Fred Warner is in line for a new contract that will make him among the highest-paid linebackers in the NFL.

 
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Gould, who turned 38 last week, is in his 16th NFL season. He ranks No. 16 all-time in points scored at 1,720 — just one point behind David Akers for No. 15 on the list. Gould is No. 5 all-time in field-goal accuracy at 86.9 percent.

In four seasons with the 49ers, Gould has made 112 of 125 field-goal attempts (89.6 percent).