Niners May Need to Draft a Kicker

Among the greatest 49ers needs as this NFL draft approaches are an edge rusher, wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback.

San Francisco also might want to consider drafting a kicker in the middle to late rounds, as well.

Veteran Robbie Gould, who has had two excellent seasons in San Francisco, has not yet reported for the team’s offseason program because of a contract dispute, and says he will not negotiate or sign a long-term deal and wants to be traded.

Gould’s agent, Brian Mackler said, “At this time, we are unsure when or if he will report. It will not be prior to Sept. 8 (the season opener), at the earliest, if at all.”

Gould’s contract expired at the end of last season, but San Francisco put the franchise tag on him to keep him on the roster for 2019. Now Gould says he’s unhappy about negotiations and wants to play elsewhere, closer to his wife and kids in Chicago.

Gould has been terrific as a 49er, making 72 of his 75 field-goal attempts, including all six from 50 or more yards. In 2018 he missed just one attempt and led the NFL in field-goal accuracy (97.1 percent).

By placing the franchise tag on Gould, he will be the league’s highest-paid kicker in 2019, at more than $5 million. But Gould apparently wants more than a one-year deal.

Niners general manager John Lynch says the team hasn’t closed the door on Gould.

“Robbie’s going to be a part of us this coming year, I know that,” he told reporters this week. “We would like it to be longer than that. We’ve made an attempt to make that happen. We haven’t come to an agreement as of yet and we’ll see where that goes, but Robbie will be a part of us this coming year.”

If the 49ers decide to draft some insurance, LSU’s Cole Tracy, San Diego State’s John Baron II and Utah’s Matt Gay rank as the top three prospects in the draft, which begins Thursday night.

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