SAN FRANCISCO — As safety Dashon Goldson landed his long-term deal with Tampa Bay on Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers were already busy preparing to move forward without him.
Free agent defensive back Charles Woodson had a meeting with the NFC champion Niners in the Bay Area on Wednesday, according to his agent, Carl Poston.
The 36-year-old Woodson, released by the Green Bay Packers in a salary-cutting move on Feb. 15 with two years remaining on his contract, has one important thing in common with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: They're both former Michigan stars.
Woodson — an accomplished cornerback and safety — is plenty familiar with Northern California, too. He spent the first eight years of his career with the Oakland Raiders, who selected him No. 4 overall in the 1998 draft. Woodson has expressed that he hopes to play for a Super Bowl contender at this stage in his career.
A 15-year NFL veteran and the 1997 Heisman Trophy winner, Woodson missed nine games during the regular season for Green Bay because of a broken right collarbone. But if he stays healthy, his ball-hawking defense could be a strong fit in a San Francisco secondary featuring Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers— even at Woodson's age.
Woodson, an eight-time Pro Bowler, won 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors and was the 1998 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Also Wednesday, defensive end Glenn Dorsey had a meeting with the NFC champion Niners, according to agent Joel Segal.
Goldson signed a $41.25 million, five-year deal that includes $22 million in guaranteed money, a person with knowledge of the contract told the Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Bucs didn't announce terms of the contract. Goldson is due to earn $8.25 million per season.
Goldson was vocal about how he didn't want to stay with the 49ers on a one-year deal after playing each of the past two seasons on such short commitments.
While Harbaugh said two days after the 34-31 Super Bowl loss to Baltimore that keeping Goldson long-term was expected to be a high priority this offseason, that no longer seems to be the thinking of the franchise as it looks to build on last season's run to the title game.
A year ago, general manager Trent Baalke retained all 11 defensive starters as San Francisco defended its NFC West crown and took a bigger step by reaching the team's first Super Bowl in 18 years.
Now, Baalke is working to build a team to get back there and win the sixth Lombardi Trophy in team history. Among his other priorities this offseason is finding a backup quarterback to Colin Kaepernick after 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday at the start of the league's free agency period.
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