Frank Gore rumbled to a first down in the first quarter past Jerrell Freeman, during the 49ers loss to Indianapolis 27-7 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Sunday Sept. 22. 2013. (Kent Porter/Press Democrat)
Number 5: Frank Gore, Running Back
Player: Frank Gore
Ht/Wt: 5’9″, 217 pounds
Positional Overview: After suffering through the “Trent Richardson Era” of Colts football, it’s clear that the team definitely needs to upgrade their running back position this offseason. Bringing back the effective, yet brittle free agent veteran Ahmad Bradshaw simply won’t cut it alone, and Dan Herron is best suited as a back-up on a contending team. Whether an upgrade is ideally brought in through the NFL Draft or free agency is still up in the air.
Show Me The Money: The 10-year veteran has been incredibly durable and productive in his career with the San Francisco 49ers. Even this past season, he rushed for 1,106 rushing yards on 255 carries (4.3 ypc avg.) and 4 touchdowns. Gore has expressed interest in signing with the Colts too, should it not ultimately work out in San Francisco on a new deal.
Most running backs start declining well before the age of 30, so it looks like Gore may be the rare exception to the “running back rule”, where players don’t typically have long careers. He has had 4 consecutive 1,000+ yard rushing yard seasons with the 49ers, and in 8 of his 10 seasons in the NFL, he’s amassed over 1,000 rushing yards. Much like Reggie Wayne is to the Colts, Gore is simply beloved in San Francisco, an organization that he’s spent his entire playing career with up to this point. In fact, he’s the 49ers franchise’s all-time leading rusher with 11,073 career rushing yards.
Buyers Remorse: While Gore has had a great career, he’s on the wrong side of 30 and has a ton of mileage on his tires. Giving a lucrative contract to a 31-year old running back may not be the most prudent football decision. It’s true that the Colts could use a running back presence between the tackles, which Gore has been time and time again, but it begs the question for how much longer can that be reasonably expected.
Outlook: Giving a lucrative multi-year contract to a 31-year old running back with a ton of wear-and-tear on his body would be a mistake. However, on a 1 or 2-year deal, Gore could be a solidifying veteran presence at the Colts running back position for the immediate future. He’s consistently defied father time through the years, as well as the expected shelf-life of the running back position. What’s another 2 years? In truth, he’s been one of the most consistent and durable running backs that the NFL has seen in recent memory.