In a move that surprised very little of those close to the organization, the 49ers used their franchise tag on All-Pro safety DaShon Goldson (just look at the 2011 season production, into the playoffs), Friday, ensuring the Pro-bowler another year in San Francisco and maybe more.
Both sides have discussed the possibility of a long-term deal, and after watching how Goldson and Whitner played together this past season, I think the 49ers aren't going to want to break that bunch of any time soon. Now, if the Niners don't land an extension with Goldson before training camp, his 2012 figure would be taken from the average of the top-5 paid players at his position. In his case, I think the figure comes out to $6-7 million. He made just $3M in 2011, but his play was worth 3 times that amount so I have no problem at all giving him, say, a 5 year, $35M contract, and have your safety position set for the next half decade (Whitner is also under a multi-year deal). Both are young players in their mid-20's and have plenty of good football left. They still haven't even hit their peak yet. Wait until they're about 29-30 and really know the game and their opponent, look out NFC West! In other 49ers news, there was some more talk of the draft going on, as there was throughout the week, but in this case, it was about the 49ers drafting a possible power running back to compliment Gore and Hunter in the backfield. There's been some question brought into play about the durability of Gore after so many full-work loaded seasons with no real backup. You could really tell it bit him late in this last season and in the playoffs as he averaged around 12 carries per game for those last 5-6 ballgames (playoffs included).
There is also word out that the 49ers number one target in terms of wideouts is, of course, Vincent Jackson, who's probably number one on a lot of teams lists. Most 49ers insiders including Matt Barrows expect the 49ers to push for top-tierre talent at the WR position, but ultimately settle on a 2nd-tiere guy like Brandon Lloyd or Mario Manningham. My top choices would be Bowe, Jackson, and then Colston, in that order, but Bowe is likely to remain in San Diego and the 49ers aren't about to get into a bidding war for Jackson, just as they didn't get into one for Asomugha last summer, and look how well that worked out. As far as 2nd-tiere guys, I guess Manningham makes some sense, cause he's got a little speed and a little size to him, kind of a poor mans Colston. Though, Colston too is an interesting name, seeing that New Orleans has some guy named Brees to work a deal out with first, but I don't think he leaves NO. DeSean Jackson just got franchised, so that's not happening either. Another name though that continues to be an option, so long as he and the Bills remain apart on a deal, is going after Stevie Johnson, the San Francisco native, a guy we mentioned here a few weeks back. He's been borderline dominant up in Buffalo and by far that teams best wideout for 2 consecutive seasons. He's exactly the type of young, 25 yea-old athlete to build the receiving corps around. A hometown kid who can take the pressure off of Crabtree and Davis and really open up the playbook!
On another note, March Madness is starting to heat up, with the Tourny just under 2 weeks away. Luckily, the Bay Area has a team in the tourney in 42nd ranked Cal, as there was a chance a few weeks back that the Pac-12 may enter the tourney with no teams! And if your planning on throwing any money down on the Bears in the tourney, check here for NCAA Basketball betting odds or my personal favorite to win it all, Kentucky, the spot for all here's your spot for! Now, there's still some time left, so some things still could change, but the field of 68 looks pretty set!