49ers

49ers showed interest Stephen Gostkowski before he re-signs with Patriots

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49ers showed interest Stephen Gostkowski before he re-signs with Patriots

The 49ers placed the franchise tag on kicker Robbie Gould, but the team is also showing interest in New England Patriots free agent Stephen Gostkowski, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday.

Perhaps, sparked by the 49ers' interest in him, the Patriots re-signed Gostkowski to a two-year contract just hours after this report. The Patriots and Gostkowski had reportedly made no progress toward a contract agreement in the months leading up to Tuesday.

Gould and Gostkowski rank Nos. 2 and 3 all-time in NFL field-goal accuracy at 87.745 and 87.381, respectively, behind Justin Tucker. Gould is 36, while Gostkowski is 35.

Gould has not signed his franchise tender yet.

The 49ers and Gould appear to be at odds over the team’s decision to lock him up for this season on the franchise tag. Gould has made it clear he wanted to be able to explore his options as a free agent, especially the possibility of a return to Chicago, where he played his first 11 NFL seasons.

But the 49ers restricted Gould's ability to choose where he will kick in 2019 with the one-year, $4.971 million tag. Gould originally signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency in 2017.

General manager John Lynch said recently at the NFL owners meeting the 49ers worked hard on a multi-year extension for Gould before placing the franchise tag on him in March. Lynch said he wanted to continue to have discussions with Gould’s representatives. But negotiations appeared to be at an impasse.

“That’s not dead, either,” Lynch said. “I think the franchise gives you some flexibility in that the player is a part of you, but we’re still trying to figure it out and (will) probably take another go at trying to figure this out. It takes everyone wanting to do that. We’ll see if that’s a reality or not.”

[RELATED: 49ers reportedly would have topped Browns' trade offer for OBJ]

Gostkowski has played his entire 13-year career with Patriots after replacing Adam Vinatieri at the beginning of the 2006 season. He has appeared in all 200 regular-season games, as well as 28 postseason games. Gostkowski is a four-time Pro Bowl selection, a two-time All-Pro, and a three-time Super Bowl champion.

Jimmy Garoppolo 'really good' but not elite, analyst Chris Simms says

Jimmy Garoppolo 'really good' but not elite, analyst Chris Simms says

Is your quarterback elite? Well, if you're a fan of the 49ers then no -- at least according to Chris Simms.

The NBC Sports football analyst couldn't confidently put Jimmy Garoppolo in the elite category, but still had plenty of praise toward him, especially knowing he plans on leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

"I think there's some quarterbacks in football right now: Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes -- they kind of stand alone," Simms said.

After that handful of quarterbacks, Simms highlights a group of "good," a squad that he considers Jimmy G to be a part of. Plus, Garoppolo has a lot of "good" surrounding him.

The elite talents of tight end George Kittle are something that shouldn't be argued -- unless you're not sure if he's a decent blocker or not. Ahem, Doug Gottlieb.

"That's all you need to win a Super Bowl," Simms added.

The consensus around Jimmy G's eliteness is that he's not elite, but he's not bad, but he's good enough.

[RELATED: NFC offensive consultant on Jimmy G's eliteness

Got all of that?

His throwing abilities have been talked about, but once again the word "elite" was not mentioned.

49ers tackle Joe Staley doesn't have looming retirement on his mind

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49ers tackle Joe Staley doesn't have looming retirement on his mind

A lot of times for athletes, it's not up to them whether or not they want to retire -- it's up to their body. For 49ers tackle Joe Staley, it's really no different.

"I like to think that I can continue to play football for as long as they'll have me," Staley said in an interview with 95.7 The Game on Thursday. "And that's my mindset. I've never thought about when an end is going to be."

The 35-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with San Francisco in June which ultimately means he could spend the entirety of his NFL career as a member of the 49ers. And while that seems like a long time, he's still soaking up the everyday grind of his job even with the setbacks he's faced this season.

"The challenges of this season have been different than seasons past," he said. "I love the adverse situations and you kind of learn a lot about yourself -- how you respond and challenge yourself daily with different goals ... "

Staley sustained a fractured left fibula earlier in the season during the Week 2 matchup against the Bengals and with a smile tried to remain positive but admitted: "it sucks." He was emotional after the injury but said that had a lot to do with how special the team was and the guys he was surrounded by.

Still, you can't fake the passion the six-time Pro Bowler brings to the 49ers and it appears you would have to pry the game away from his hands if you anticipate him hanging up his cleats any time soon.

[RELATED: How Jimmy G can enter record books in 49ers-Falcons]

"That love for the game is still there, burning," Staley said.

He finished the statement saying he doesn't have an honest answer as to just how much football is left in his body, but it's not something he's concentrating on at the moment.