SANTA CLARA — San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh will make it a priority to re-sign franchise safety Dashon Goldson to a long-term contract this offseason — something the defender believes he has more than earned after helping his team reach the Super Bowl.
"He's somebody that I think you reward," Harbaugh said Tuesday following his final team meeting of the season before players parted ways. "You know he's out there and opposing offenses know that he's out there. He tackles and does everything that you'd want a safety to do. I feel like you reward those type of people. Who do you reward if you don't reward those type of people?"
The 28-year-old Goldson has played on one-year contracts the past two seasons, including the 2012 franchise tag of $6.2 million, and made it clear he's "not for that" again. He had 69 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble this season as San Francisco returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years.
Goldson was among the players scheduled to meet with general manager Trent Baalke on Tuesday as they packed up their lockers and headed out for the offseason following Sunday's 34-31 loss to Baltimore in New Orleans.
Goldson has seen plenty of others in his own locker room receive lengthy deals. In late November, linebacker NaVorro Bowman got a five-year extension through the 2018 season worth $45.25 million, with $25.5 million in guaranteed money.
"I think he deserved what he got. It was like a little, like, 'Wow, OK,' but I had to think about what was more important and that was this team and getting to the Super Bowl," Goldson said.
For now, he's not going to worry too much and let his agent handle negotiations.
"I'm just staying positive. I'm where I want to be. I was in this position before and I got my hopes up and it didn't work out the way I wanted it to," he said. "But for me to come back, I feel like they wanted me to prove myself — again. And I think I did just that. So if I was able to be in this situation again with the franchise tag, I'd be very surprised.
"There's no security in it. I've been in this league now six years, going on seven. I think I've done what I've had to do to deserve a second contract, period."
When asked whether keeping Goldson for the long haul is among his top priorities, Harbaugh said, "I think that's very fair to say."
If the runner-up Niners (13-5-1) don't end up offering Goldson what he wants so he can stay put where he prefers, he said Tuesday he would pursue opportunities with any of the other NFL teams.
"I'm not expecting anything. Somewhere. Anywhere. Hopefully, it will be this team. But I'm open to all 32 teams," Goldson said.
Fellow safety Donte Whitner is optimistic the 49ers will do their best to again keep San Francisco's stingy defense together and try for another special postseason run next season.