SANTA CLARA — The 49ers' heralded defense has an opening for a starting free safety now that Dashon Goldson has struck a five-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Goldson achieved his quest for a lucrative contract by landing $22 million guaranteed as part of the $41.25 million contract, according to multiple reports.

Having received Pro Bowl honors the past two seasons, Goldson would have earned $7.45 million if the 49ers chose to place the franchise tag on him a second straight year, something they opted not to do last month.

"I was very thankful I didn't get the franchise (tag) again," Goldson said at his introductory news conference in Tampa. "There were opportunities out there. This was the correct fit. I truly believe that. It was time to go somewhere that really wanted me."

Mark Dominik, the Buccaneers general manager, said they tried trading for Goldson prior to last year's draft.

The Buccaneers flew Goldson in on a private jet Tuesday night and met with him before Dominik banged out a contract with agent Ben Dogra.

In anticipation of Goldson's departure, the 49ers hosted free agent Charles Woodson on Wednesday and were also interested in Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry. The 49ers' defense did make one apparent addition Wednesday with former Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, according to ESPN.

Another potential addition to the secondary is former Raiders and Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, a Cal product who's considering the 49ers, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, according to ProFootballTalk.com

Goldson blossomed into a Pro Bowl player the past two seasons, doing so on one-year contracts. His three interceptions last seasons matched the number of fines he received from the NFL for illegal hits.

"I sat with my agent and tried to figure out where was my correct fit for my style of play and mindset. Tampa came on my radar," Goldson said. "I was able to see a couple games and their style of play. I fit well in their scheme. It's a good opportunity and this team is definitely on the upswing."

The Buccaneers finished 7-9 last season after using their first-round draft pick on Alabama safety mark Barron. Goldson stated that the Buccaneers could ascend like the reigning NFC champion 49ers.

"I was in San Francisco six years. We started from the bottom," said Goldson, a fourth-round pick in 2007. "It didn't happen overnight to get where we were these past couple years. I definitely see the potential here."

Several of Goldson's former 49ers teammates were far from bitter at his departure and instead relayed well wishes through Twitter:

Safety Donte Whitner: "Congrats to my bro @thehawk38 on his new deal with Tampa! You will be missed.... #Niners."

Linebacker Patrick Willis: "Congrats to @thehawk38 for his new deal. we came in this thang together Every yr was a pleasure... keep balling."

Safety Trenton Robinson: "The big bro @thehawk38 showed me a lot this year and I respect his game and him as a Person thanks my G I will be in touch #Respect."