SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Dashon Goldson refused to let his disappointment over not getting a long-term deal with the San Francisco 49ers simmer. All he wants to do now is focus on football.
Just the way coach Jim Harbaugh likes it.
Goldson signed his $6.2 million franchise tender and reported to 49ers training camp Thursday, settling the franchise’s only outstanding contract issue on the last day all players were due to arrive at team headquarters. While Goldson never gave any indication he wouldn’t report to camp, he also never said he would.
Teams had until July 16 for franchise tagged players to agree to a new contract, leaving Goldson with two choices once that deadline passed: sign the one-year deal or sit out from a team that many believe is a Super Bowl contender and lose about $387,500 for every regular-season game missed.
“It was a no-brainer,” Goldson said. “I owed it to my teammates. Those guys have been working extremely hard, and I missed a little bit of the offseason earlier and I didn’t want to miss another part of this training camp. I wanted to come back out here and sharpen up, pick up from where we started off last year and just add. I don’t want to come off to a slow start to the season.”
Now Goldson gives himself the best chance to be ready.
San Francisco will hold its first full squad practice Friday afternoon at the team’s Silicon Valley headquarters, which is one big construction zone surrounded by cranes and hard-hat workers with the planned $1.2 billion stadium the 49ers hope to open for the 2014 season well in the works.
A first-time Pro Bowler last season, Goldson was a key member of one of the NFL’s top defenses. He and cornerback Carlos Rogers shared the team lead with six interceptions — a career-best for Goldson, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2007 out of Washington.
Goldson’s signing guarantees the NFC West champion 49ers will have all 11 defensive starters from last year in camp. San Francisco allowed 14.3 points per game last season, second only to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 14.2 points.
“I was just hoping that he came back on time and we wouldn’t have anybody missing on the defense,” defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois said. “We got in a van together at the hotel. Just to see him there I was happy. I was like, ‘We got the whole defense back. Now it’s time to let the tides roll.”
Goldson insists there are no hard feelings between him and the franchise.
He admits he’s disappointed, especially after watching other safeties with a franchise tag work out long-term deals with their teams. Oakland’s Tyvon Branch signed a $26 million, four-year deal; Tennessee’s Michael Griffin inked a $36 million, five-year deal.
Goldson said there was “not really” ever a formal offer from the 49ers. So he had to settle for the franchise tag, which is the average of the top five salaries at his position for the previous five years.
“It was a little surprising it panned out that way,” Goldson said. “I seen it leaning toward that way and I just accepted it for what it was. No hard feelings. It’s just one of those things. It ain’t bad money.”
The earliest the 49ers can sign Goldson to a multiyear contract will be after the season. They also could franchise tag him again in 2013, though his one-year salary would likely balloon to about $7.5 million.
The unsettled contraction situation never slowed Goldson’s offseason routine.
He worked out at two top fitness centers in Southern California and a third in North Miami Beach. While he stayed in top-tier shape, he also missed a minicamp and most of the team’s voluntary offseason workouts.
After a 13-3 regular season and memories of that heartbreaking 20-17 overtime loss to the eventual champion New York Giants in the NFC title game still fresh, Goldson simply didn’t want to miss anything else.
“I just had to take it upon myself and realize, what’s the task at hand?” Goldson said. “We’ve got a good football team here. We’ve got a chance to do something special this year. That’s my main focus. What didn’t get done didn’t get done. I’m sure it will get done some time next year.”