It's no secret that over the past six years, Frank Gore has been the workhorse back for the 49ers. Since the end of the Steve Mariucci era in 2003, the 49ers offense has been mediocre, at best. However, the one constant was Frank Gore after his emergence in 2005. Since taking over the starting role from former Niner Kevan Barlow, Frank Gore has been the face of the Niners offense. A former two time Pro Bowl selection, Gore has consistently shown that not only is he a dynamic player, he is a leader that loves his team.
At 28 years old, Gore is in the prime of his career. However, this offseason, he used the extended time to recover from a hip injury that sat him out over the remaining five games of last season. Now fully recovered, he has quietly said that he is displeased with his current contract situation. With one year left on his current deal, he is looking for a contract similar to what DeAngelo Williams inked in Carolina ( 5 years, 43 million with 21 million guaranteed). Is Williams a better back than Gore? Certainly not. They both have unique playing styles that make them dynamic. The Panthers wanted to keep their core group of players for the foreseeable future and they had to spend big to keep Williams. It's not to say that Gore isn't worth the deal, but as fans, we must look at it objectively. The career of an NFL running back is the shortest of any other position. It's not likely that Williams will even see the end of that contract considering that he too is 28.
So what now for the 49ers? Their star back wants a big deal or go somewhere where he will. There will be plenty of teams lined to to acquire Gore's services. But at what price? Gore's injury history is extensive: Two major surgeries on each knee, surgery on both shoulders, plus the recent hip injury. His body, frankly, just has more mileage on it than Williams at this point. So if the Niners were to trade Gore, would it really be the worst thing for the team?
This slide show will touch on why a trade could actually benefit the team in the long run while Gore still has value.