SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Two days after kicker Robbie Gould and his agent told ESPN that Gould would like the San Francisco 49ers to trade him back closer to his Chicago home, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear that Gould’s request isn’t likely to be granted.
Asked Thursday night whether the Niners would trade Gould, Shanahan offered a simple reply.
“No,” Shanahan said.
According to Shanahan, while the 49ers understand Gould’s desire to get closer to home, they also have a responsibility to put together the best possible roster.
“We love having Robbie here,” Shanahan said. “We understand that he doesn’t want to live here long-term and he’s made that clear to us and we get that. But we do have a franchise tag and he’s that good of a kicker that he’s worth franchising. Unfortunately, we know we’re not going to have him here long-term. I think that’s been pretty clear. No hard feelings about that. I can understand his reasons but I’m pretty excited to have a good kicker this year.”
The question, then, is if and when Gould will actually play for the 49ers this year. San Francisco put the franchise tag on Gould in February, a designation that comes with an offer of a one-year deal for around $5 million.
That tag came after months of negotiations that did not result in a deal, and Gould told ESPN he was discouraged recently by the Niners’ interest in kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who ultimately re-signed with the New England Patriots.
An inability to come to terms on a long-term contract combined with Gould’s desire to return closer to his Chicago home prompted Gould to shut down any further contract talks and to formally request a trade via his agent, Brian Mackler.
Gould had been living in a hotel near the Niners’ team facility in Santa Clara the past two years while his wife and family remained in Chicago during the season.
“The bottom line is, I’m unsure if I want to play there anymore,” Gould told ESPN on Tuesday. “At this point, I have to do what’s best for me and my family back home.”
In two seasons with the 49ers, Gould has been one of the league’s best kickers. The 36-year-old Gould has made 72 of 75 field goal attempts since signing with San Francisco and led the league in field goal percentage (97.1) last season.
While Gould initially indicated he would be open to staying with the Niners, he also has been clear about his desire to return to the Bears. He spent his first 11 seasons there before the Bears released him.
For now, it appears the Niners and Gould could be headed for a standoff. Mackler told ESPN that his client was unsure when or if he would report to the Niners, and if he did it wouldn’t be before the start of the season on Sept. 8.
“Robbie is not here with us,” Lynch said. “These are voluntary workouts right now. As I said the other day, Robbie is a guy who we respect in a big way for the way he has performed for us, for the teammate he’s been, and we’re hopeful that we can figure something out to keep him here for a long time. Robbie had his comments; we’ll choose to deal directly with Robbie, not through the media in terms of the negotiations, but we’re hopeful we can find some resolution on this thing and in the interim, we know Robbie will be ready to play.”
In addition to Gould, the 49ers have only unproven kicker Jonathan Brown on the roster. He entered the NFL in 2016 after signing with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent and has never kicked in a regular-season NFL game. The Niners signed him to a two-year deal on March 8.