The San Francisco 49ers don't need a kicker, unlike the Bears, but their reported interest in free agent Stephen Gostkowski seems, well, relevant to Chicago's still-unsettled PK situation.
With Niners franchise-tag recipient (and another franchise's all-time leading scorer) Robbie Gould yet to sign his tender, the club is kicking the tires on the longtime Patriot, according to NBC Sports Matt Maiocco, who says San Francisco and Gould seem to be at odds over the use of the tag preventing him from hitting the market.
Gould, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Bears following the 2015 campaign, has been the most accurate kicker in football over the past two seasons and ranks directly behind Baltimore's Justin Tucker (and ahead of Gostkowski) at No. 2 on the NFL's all-time FG accuracy list at 87.75 percent.
Would the Niners consider rescinding Gould's tag, which, if signed, would pay him nearly $5 million this season? It seems unlikely, but Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have made several surprising personnel decisions over the past two years. So although Gould clearly has been the better option of late than Gostkowski, who finished below 85 percent conversions for the second time in the past three seasons, we're not ready to fully discount the possibility.
The more important part relative to the Bears, with $16.85 million in cap space according to the NFLPA's latest public report, is whether they'd act in the rare event Gould suddenly becomes available. It's a long way from Gould, who has converted a league-leading 96.4 percent (82-of-85) of his field goals in three seasons since his Bears release, to unproven Redford Jones and Chris Blewitt — both in terms of experience and expected compensation.
Perhaps GM Ryan Pace would deem Gould's potential availability as too unique of a circumstance not to pounce in an offseason when the Bears have serious Super Bowl aspirations. Especially after the Cody Parkey fiasco and because Gould could create the softest possible landing for Pace's Bears.
The most likely scenario remains that the Bears take Jones, Blewitt and perhaps one more challenger into their offseason kicking battle, and Gould signs his one-year tender. Nonetheless, the Niners appear to be keeping the door at least slightly ajar for a Bears' Gould rush.