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Former Browns kicker Phil Dawson headed to 49ers

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

Former Browns kicker Phil Dawson is leaving Cleveland for the Bay Area. (USATSI)

The top kicker on the free-agent market has a new home. Former Brown Phil Dawson tweeted Tuesday that he's headed for San Francisco. Dawson signed a one-year deal with the team. The 49ers had been in the market for a kicker since releasing David Akers on March 6.

Dawson should be an upgrade from Akers in about every way imaginable for the 49ers, at least if last season is any indication. In 2012, Dawson connected on 29 of 31 field-goal attempts for a 93.5 percent conversion rate that ranked second in the league. Akers ranked second-to-last at 69 percent.

The move should give the 49ers more confidence on long-range kicks. Last season, Dawson was a perfect 13 of 13 on kicks over 40 yards, and Akers only connected on 9 of 19.

Dawson is the 12th most accurate kicker in NFL history (97.8 percent) and is one of only 25 kickers in league history to have converted at least 300 field-goal attempts.

There is one major achievement that Dawson's career is lacking though and that's a playoff win. In his 14-year-career -- all with the Browns -- Dawson has been to the postseason once (2002). The opportunity to play on a contender may have made the decision to sign with San Francisco easy.

The signing will make the 49ers overall roster younger, but just barely. The 38-year-old Dawson is 45 days younger than Akers.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can also follow John Breech @JohnBreech.

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