SANTA CLARA The 49ers on Wednesday released kicker David Akers, whose 2012 season began with a record-tying 63-yard field goal but ended with the worst slump of his career.
That move, plus the pending trade of quarterback Alex Smith, will give the 49ers more than $12 million in salary cap relief. Akers was due to earn a base salary of $3 million in 2013.
A year after he set NFL records for field goals made (44) and attempted (52), Akers missed more attempts 13 than any kicker in the league in 2012, including potential game-winning kicks in two overtime games against the St. Louis Rams. And he was particularly bad from 40 yards and beyond, making only 9 of 19 attempts.
Akers' agent, Jerrold Colton, said Wednesday that the kicker had a minor procedure last week after struggling with a sports hernia the second half of the season. Akers had a procedure a year ago to address the same issue. Two months ago, he revealed he aggravated the injury during the season and flew to Philadelphia after the 49ers' Nov. 25 win in New Orleans to receive treatment.
Colton said Akers, 38, does not plan to retire. "He's very confident right now that he'll be as good as ever," Colton said.
Akers' slide grew so troubling that the 49ers took the unprecedented step of bringing in another veteran kicker, Billy Cundiff, for competition just before the playoffs.
Akers won that competition, but he still was shaky in the playoffs and the Super Bowl. He hit the left upright on his only attempt in the NFC Championship Game and would have missed a 39-yard try in the Super Bowl if the Baltimore Ravens hadn't been flagged for running into the kicker.
"The 49ers would like to thank David for his service, dedication and leadership over the past two years," general manager Trent Baalke said in the statement. "He is a true professional who represented himself and this organization with class. We wish him, and his family, all the best."
Akers has been voted to the Pro Bowl six times, including in 2011 with the 49ers, and he is a four-time Associated Press All-Pro.
The last time the 49ers selected a kicker in the draft was 2002, when they took Jeff Chandler from Florida in the fourth round.
The team also could look for a kicker in free agency. Browns kicker Phil Dawson, who played for 49ers special-teams coach Brad Seely in Cleveland, is expected to be on the market.
Said Baalke when asked about the position at last month's scouting combine: "We're going to be looking at every position in free agency. We're going to be looking at every position in the draft. And we're going to address the needs we have through one of those two options."
Joint effort for Super Bowl San Francisco may have felt jilted when the 49ers decided to build their new, $1.2 billion stadium 40 miles to the south in Santa Clara, but the city seems to be over that now.
That was the theme during a Wednesday media event at the stadium where San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews spoke about the regional effort for and regional benefits of a Super Bowl at the new facility.
The game would be played in Santa Clara, but San Francisco would be the focal point for the week's festivities.
The San Francisco Super Bowl Bid Committee will make its pitch for hosting one of the the next two Super Bowls to be awarded, L in 2016 or LI in 2017, at the NFL owners meeting in Boston on May 21.
"I've already turned the page on the Niners building a stadium here," said Lee atop the venue's northwest promenade. " The strength of the bid will be in the collaboration of the region."
California hasn't hosted a Super Bowl since the Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers played in San Diego in 2003. The last game in the Bay Area was at Stanford in 1985.
Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320.