When news broke that the Carolina Panthers had re-signed Eddy Piñeiro to a new two-year contract, it was widely reported that general manager Scott Fitterer was going to release Zane Gonzalez in a corresponding move. That is, of course, until San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch swooped in and worked out a deal with the second-year GM to bring the 27-year-old kicker to Santa Clara County, as reported by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
“The Panthers traded kicker Zane Gonzalez to the 49ers, per his agent Mike McCartney,” Tom Pelissero wrote. “The teams will swap picks in 2025, per source.
“More specifically, it’s conditional 2025 late-round compensation to Carolina for Gonzalez, who had been told he’d be released. Instead, headed to SF.”
Does the addition of Gonzalez, even in exchange for a future pick swap, officially close the door on bringing back Robbie Gould for a seventh season in San Francisco? In the opinion of David Lombardi, a 49ers staff writer for The Athletic, that isn’t necessarily the case.
“The 49ers are paying next to nothing for Zane Gonzalez (conditional 2025 late-round pick) and he has no guaranteed money,” Lombardi wrote. “There is no indication that SF is done with its kicker search.
“They even could just be doing this to put pressure on Robbie Gould negotiations. All TBD.”
Fortunately, by Gould’s own admission, he still has plenty left in the tank, so if Lombardi’s opinion proves true, there’s a chance for a reunion left.
Robbie Gould Thinks He Can Still Kick Into His 40s
Discussing his future plans for professional football after the conclusion of his 18th professional season, Gould let it be known that he has no intentions of hanging up his cleats any time soon.
“I’m nowhere near retiring,” Gould told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I got a lot left to do from a career perspective — No. 1 being winning a Super Bowl. And, two, I’m pretty close to a lot of milestones I think would be pretty neat to be able to accomplish.”
After turning in an impressive 2022 season that featured just five missed field goal attempts and one missed extra point, it’s clear Gould can still kick at an above-average level in the NFL. Unfortunately for 49ers fans, there might be some competition for his services, as Gould himself has already mentioned a team he would happily play for in 2023 if afforded an opportunity.
Robbie Gould Has Eyes Outside of the San Francisco 49ers
Speaking to a ruckus crowd of fans at ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy show for the station’s 25th anniversary special, Gould boldly declared that he would happily return to Chicago to close out his NFL career.
“If Chicago called me and said ‘we want you back,’ would I do it? Absolutely,” Gould said via Brendan Sugrue, the assistant editor of The Bears Wire.
After beginning his NFL career with the Bears in 2005, Gould played 11 seasons for Chicago before taking his talents to New York and eventually San Francisco, where he played from 2017-2022. While it’s unlikely the Bears will be winning a Super Bowl in 2023, as no team has ever gone from the worst record in the NFL to champions over a one-year period, it would be serendipitous to see Gould’s career come full circle, and for the Chicago resident to close out his career in front of his friends and family.