San Francisco 49ers: Will Dashon Goldson Actually Be More Motivated in 2012?

Joe LevittContributor IIIJuly 17, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14:  Dashon Goldson #38 of the San Francisco 49ers takes the field for the start of the NFC Divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Dashon Goldson and the San Francisco 49ers failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract by 1 pm PST yesterday afternoon.

The starting free safety will now play under the $6.212 million one-year franchise tender awarded to players at his position.

Goldson is no stranger to the experience of playing under single-year contracts. He played under a $2 million deal last season after not receiving the lucrative contract he so desired from the 49ers or any other NFL team.

Negotiating power was not in his favor for the second year in a row, as the 49er front office was not going to dole out $8 million per for the six-interception man of 2011. They simply did not feel he was worth Eric Weddle or even Antrel Rolle-type money.

Fortunately for the faithful of the Red and Gold, Goldson is all but guaranteed to return to the team. Equally important is that he has the desire to do so.

But, per the purposes of this article, will the 2011 Pro Bowler actually be more motivated in 2012?

It is conceivable that he will be.

One reason is that there is a certain silver lining to one-year deals. In Goldson’s case, he must realize that, despite not necessarily securing a long-term future with the 49ers, he’ll actually earn as much guaranteed money as Weddle in two years as the Charger will in signing bonuses over five years.

Playing under the franchise tag in consecutive years will net Goldson $6.212 this season and $7.45 million in 2013. Again, it isn’t a five-year deal, but the money is there (and it is technically worth more than Weddle’s signing bonus).

Additionally, he must prove that he can play with more discipline. His six picks and 10 deflected passes do not tell the entire story.

Goldson contributed to losses against the Cardinals in Week 11 and the Giants in the NFC Championship with costly errors. His gamble on the Darren Sproles touchdown in the divisional round gave the Saints a fourth-quarter lead as well.

The perceptive analysts at Pro Football Focus also illuminated some disturbing statistics. They noted that opposing quarterbacks completed 67.4 percent of their passes and totaled a 94.1 QB rating when throwing into Goldson’s coverage. He allowed the fourth-most TDs (4) from the safety position to boot.

While I believe Goldson deserves higher than a No. 69 ranking (out of 86 safeties), there is irrefutable statistical analysis that shows the high degree of risk associated with his style of play. Contract negotiators with the 49ers were clearly aware of this information.

Goldson must render these stats obsolete with continued ball-hawking play, but with a style that focuses more on the receiver, and not overly gambling on the football.

Lastly, the former Washington Husky needs to acknowledge the up-and-coming talent behind him.

C.J. Spillman is a phenomenal special teams player with the athleticism and skill to be a star free safety in the future. He is Goldson’s primary backup. 2011 draftee Trenton Robinson also was an extremely productive safety in coverage at MSU. He projects well as a future all-around NFL player.

Some say that the former Stanford product in Michael Thomas has a solid future as well.

My hope is that Goldson shines in all the right ways in 2012 and earns a multi-year deal. He possesses the requisite coverage and tackling skills not always seen in modern free safeties.

If he shores up those other aforementioned areas, expect the duo of 49er safeties to rank in the upper echelons at their positions in the NFL. Let’s hope Mr. Goldson is motivated to do so.


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