Despite a disappointing 2010 campaign in which FS Dashon Goldson managed only one takeaway, all indications point toward the Niners making the re-signing of fifth-year free agent a relatively top priority.
"With the team recently saying it did not plan on moving (veteran starting CB) Nate Clements to safety, it makes sense," one team insider said of the likelihood the Niners will try to lock up Goldson with a long-term deal. "Goldson looked like a turnover machine in the making a year ago at this time."
It's just as likely, however, that there will be a fair amount of interest in Goldson on the open market.
"There will be a market for him," the insider said. "Not only is he a dedicated, hardworking guy. But there's also a perception that, even though (former defensive coordinator) Greg Manusky is pretty well-regarded, the Niners' suspect coaching staff last season might have been responsible for a lot of players' off seasons. There could be some people thinking that, with the right coaching staff, Goldson could be a Pro Bowl player."
While Goldson, who had a terrific 2009 campaign (four interceptions, three forced fumbles, two sacks), shapes up as the best bet at free safety for the Niners, it appears the tables might have turned slightly at strong safety, with 2010 second-round pick Taylor Mays having regained an edge over former CB Reggie Smith, who replaced an ineffective Mays as the starter last season. "Mays' off-the-charts physical ability probably puts him back ahead of Smith," the insider said. "But safety is a very fluid position right now."