A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.
The San Francisco 49ers finally gave Dashon Goldson a chance at free safety last season and it was the right call. Goldson's athleticism enhanced the defense. A breakout game against the Arizona Cardinals on "Monday Night Football" validated Goldson as an up-and-coming player in the division.
Where does he go from here?
Goldson's decision to fire his agent during contract negotiations early this offseason came amid reports Goldson was determined to leverage a contract far more valuable than the 49ers were prepared to pay for a player with only one good season on his résumé. It sounded as though Goldson might be getting ahead of himself. Goldson hired Drew Rosenhaus, then watched another Rosenhaus client, Antrel Rolle, jump from the Arizona Cardinals to the New York Giants for big bucks. Rolle was coming off a Pro Bowl appearance. He had been a top-10 overall draft choice and had shown playmaking ability over time. Goldson was just starting out by comparison.
I caught up with Goldson after a 49ers practice this week and tried to get a feel for his mindset and how it might affect his approach to the season. Goldson did say he was seeking a more aggressive approach to negotiations. He described Rosenhaus as a "shark" who "smells blood" and will show the aggressiveness Goldson sees in himself on the field. Goldson also seemed to realize he'll need another strong season to command the sort of deal he wants. He described his tackling as better than some critics have suggested while acknowledging he needs to become more consistent by taking better angles and showing more patience in coverage. A little patience on the contract front could be in order as well.
"Obviously, they are real patient about it and careful about who they give the money to," Goldson said of the 49ers, "but I don't see myself not getting a deal done here. I know they respect me and like what I'm doing here and I want to be here, so I'm sure something will work out. I don't think they have a problem paying athletes."