San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould warms up during training camp on July 27, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco 49ers place franchise tag on Robbie Gould

The San Francisco 49ers have officially ended offseason speculation surrounding ultra-reliable kicker Robbie Gould, and placed the franchise tag on the 36-year old.

Gould, who spent the first 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Chicago Bears, had recently said on Chicago’s 670 The Score that his next team would be chosen based on family considerations. His wife and three sons still live in Chicago.

San Francisco, though, will get at least one more year of Gould, who has made 72 of 75 field goals since signing a two-year deal with the 49ers in 2017 and ranks second in NFL history in field goal percentage (87.7).

The Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania native will be well-compensated for staying in San Francisco, and in fact could be the league’s highest-paid kicker, earning a salary of just over $5 million, a raise from the $2 million average annual value of his previous contract with the 49ers. The 49ers have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal with Gould.

During Gould’s comments on Chicago radio, he said that his goal in finding his next team would be to land a three-year contract and be closer to his family, and closed the interview saying, “Once a Bear, always a Bear.”

Being tagged by San Francisco, while giving Gould a hefty raise, doesn’t fulfill either of those, but it could mean that the 49ers tag him again in 2020, which would bump his salary to about $6 million.

San Francisco has reason to want to keep the 6-foot, 190-pound kicker.

Along with his 72-of-75 mark on field goals, he’s hit 55 of 59 extra point attempts, and his 72 made field goals and 96.0 field goal percentage over the past two years ranks first in the NFL over that time span. He also holds the highest field goal percentage in a two-year span in NFL history, making 96.1 percent of his field goal attempts from 2016-17.

Gould’s 271 total points from 2017-18 are the second-most in a two-year span in franchise history, second only to David Akers, who had 297 from 2001-12. He also set the franchise record after making 33 consecutive field goal attempts from 2017-18.

In 2018, Gould set the franchise single-season record by connecting on a career-high 97.1 percent (33 of 34) of his field goal attempts (minimum 16 attempts), while going 27-for-29 on PATs. He earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December and was twice named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award (Week 2 and Week 15).

In his first season with the 49ers in 2017, Gould went 39-for-41 on field goal attempts (95.1 percent) and went 28-for-30 on extra points for a career-high 145 points. His career-high 39 field goals made led the NFL, finished tied for the third-most in a single season in NFL history.

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