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According to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, Baalke said that the 49ers don't have to restructure the last year of Gore's contract (worth $6.45 million). He then praised the nine-year veteran:
And he brings so much more to the team. I think we all know that. Frank's an extremely passionate guy, loves the game of football, he loves the organization. He's everything we're looking for from a DNA standpoint, and he's an awfully good football player and he's a great teammate.
Gore rushed for 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2013 regular season. He's spent his entire career in San Francisco. He's earned the right to play out his contract.
It's not good business to demand a pay cut to a productive player who hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Though I expect the Niners to feature Gore less so Marcus Lattimore gets opportunities, there's no guarantee the former South Carolina star will stay healthy. Gore is still the bell cow, and his salary fairly reflects that.
If the 49ers are trying to save money, then why not draft a kicker and avoid paying millions to Phil Dawson?
I'm sure that's a question Baalke has pondered seriously. But Dawson was so valuable in 2013 that it may not be worth the risk.
Dawson made 32 of 36 field-goal attempts in 2013. More impressively, he's made 18 of 21 attempts from 50 yards or more in the last three seasons.
In February, Bleacher Report's Dylan DeSimone argued why the 49ers need a top-tier kicker like Dawson:
Once they get beyond this and figure out a way to optimize their abundance of talent in constricted areas, there will be less emphasis on the need for a kicker.
Then it won't be as crucial.
But until that moment, the 49ers cannot field a team without Phil Dawson.
If the Niners were better in the red zone, they'd be more inclined to take a chance on a cheaper kicker. Until then, Dawson is their man.