After spending the first 10 years of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, running back Frank Gore has reportedly decided to move on.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Adam Caplan, Gore is set to sign a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles once free agency begins:
On Monday, Mindi Bach of CSN Bay Area reported that San Francisco's offer to Gore is for one year at "roughly $4 million," adding that "all of the money, essentially, would be guaranteed." NFL Network's Ian Rapoport revealed Gore will reconsider the potential deal with the Eagles and named the Colts as a team to still keep an eye on.
Schefter also stated on Monday that Gore has "cold feet" on signing with the Eagles and that they are "now in market for other RBs." He commented on the link to the Colts:
Pro Football Talk and Schefter offered insight on the potential deal, while ESPN's Chris Mortensen provided some additional perspective on Gore joining the Eagles:
Gore is coming off his eighth 1,000-yard rushing season, having carried the ball 255 times for 1,106 yards and four touchdowns in 2014.
The 10-year veteran could have been even more productive last year, but the 49ers didn't give him the opportunity to do so. Back in December, ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez gave San Francisco's offense a "D+" in part because of how the coaching staff mishandled Gore:
The offense forgot its identity, Frank Gore was often a forgotten man, tight end Vernon Davis was an invisible man and Colin Kaepernick regressed. Why, exactly, did the Niners change the offense, and whose call was it to do so?
Though Gore was one of the bright spots for the 49ers offense last year, projecting the long-term value of running backs can be tricky. Most seemingly fall off a cliff after hitting 30, while others maintain a fairly consistent level of performance until they decide to hang up their cleats.
Gore was likely a particularly vexing case for San Francisco. He's rushed for at least 1,000 yards in all but one of the last nine years—the lone exception was his injury-shortened 2010 campaign.
Gore's yards-per-carry average also remained steady over the past few seasons, so there weren't many signs of him wearing down just yet. However, he turns 32 in May and has a lot of mileage on his body.
Over the past nine years, he's averaged 257.2 carries per season, which isn't an obscene total but definitely adds up after a while. He's also racked up 342 receptions for 2,883 yards throughout his 10-year career, further adding to the wear and tear.
In February, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote the 49ers likely had a couple of other considerations in mind if they decided to let Gore walk:
No team is likely to match Gore's 2014 salary ($6.45 million), but those with a hole in their backfield would figure to pony up a bit more than the 49ers.
With the Niners, Gore, who will turn 32 in May, would compete for carries with 2013 second-round pick Carlos Hyde, Kendall Hunter and, possibly, a rookie: The 49ers have selected a running back in the draft for six straight years.
The Niners look set to pass the torch to a younger running back such as Carlos Hyde. Having Gore around would have muddied the waters and tied up a significant amount of money at a position in which the team has more than enough depth.
Leaving San Francisco is arguably the best move for Gore as well, since his place in the first-team offense is a little more secure, especially with LeSean McCoy being traded to the Buffalo Bills.
Given both Gore's impressive consistency and the overall strength of the Eagles offense, it's easy to look at this move as a slam dunk.
Nobody will expect Gore to rush for 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015, but the Eagles will certainly rely heavily upon him as they look to make a playoff push.
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