Robbie Gould will not have the opportunity to test the free-agent waters as he had envisioned.
The 49ers on Tuesday placed the franchise tag on Gould, the team announced, restricting his status on the free agent market and all but assuring he will return to the 49ers for at least one more season.
Under rules of the non-exclusive franchise designation, a player may negotiate with other teams. However, the team that places the franchise tag on a player has the right of first refusal to match any offer sheet. If the team declines to match the offer, the team that signs the franchise player would receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.
The 49ers are likely to have nearly $70 million in cap room at the start of the new league year, according to figures from the NFL Players Association and overthecap.com.
The franchise tag for a kicker is expected to be approximately $5 million for one season. Gould signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency in 2017.
Gould made 72 of 75 field-goal attempts in his first two seasons with the 49ers. He ranks as the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history behind Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, making 87.745 percent of his field-goal attempts in his 14-year career.
Gould spent 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Chicago Bears. His family remained in Chicago last season, and the Bears were expected to be interested in the possibility of re-signing Gould if the 49ers were to allow him to become a free agent.
Here is a look at the 49ers’ history of the franchise tag:
2012: Safety Dashon Goldson
2010: Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin
2004-2005: Linebacker Julian Peterson
1999: *Wide receiver Terrell Owens
1993: *Quarterback Steve Young
*-Signed long-term contract extensions