Pochman on the way out

In the wake of the latest collapse by their kicker, the San Francisco 49ers will again change placement specialists, with ESPN.com learning Monday night that the club will sign veteran free agent Todd Peterson to replace the struggling Owen Pochman.

San Francisco coaches phoned Peterson on Monday afternoon to apprise him that he would become their third kicker this year, and the two sides were working in the evening to finalize a contract. Peterson, 33, likely will fly to San Francisco on Tuesday.

The nine-year veteran is familiar to 49ers coach Dennis Erickson, having kicked for him in Seattle. He was one of three kickers who auditioned for the San Francisco coaches last week, along with Steve McLaughlin and Danny Boyd, but the club decided to stick with Pochman for one more game.

That decision proved disastrous Sunday afternoon in a 16-13 overtime loss at Arizona.

Pochman missed two field goals and, to compound his problems, shanked the kickoff at the beginning of overtime out of bounds. The penalty for kicking the ball out of bounds permitted the Cardinals to begin the extra session at their own 40-yard line, and Arizona moved quickly toward the game-winning field goal by Tim Duncan.

In four games with the 49ers, Pochman converted just 8 of 15 field-goal attempts and 9 of 10 extra points. He had replaced second-year veteran Jeff Chandler, who began the season as the San Francisco kicker. Chandler was released after two games, having converted 6 of 7 field goals and 7 of 8 extra points.

"We need a guy who has been there before, so experience is definitely something that we are looking for," Erickson said.

Peterson was merely waiting to hear from his agent that the contract was completed. He has worked out for several teams since being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the offseason. Peterson appeared in 10 games for the Steelers in 2002 but finished the year on the injured reserve list.

In stints with Arizona (1994), Seattle (1995-99), Kansas City (2000-2001) and Pittsburgh (2002), Peterson has 182 field goals in 234 attempts and has converted all but two of his 260 extra-point tries, for 804 points. Peterson has scored more than 100 points in five of nine seasons. His career high, 134 points, came in 1999 with Kansas City.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.