I'm going to get this out of the way right now: no, the San Francisco 49ers should not trade Frank Gore under almost any circumstances before or during the 2011 NFL season, providing there is one. I say "almost," because there is no such thing as a player a team should not trade. However, no team is going to present the Niners with an offer that they just can't refuse. Frank Gore is the team's starting running back in 2011 and for the foreseeable future.
Frank Gore has been the centerpiece of the 49ers offense for years now, and has consistently been one of the league's top five running backs. Opposing players often identify Gore as one of the hardest guys to bring down in the NFL. From 2006-2009, Gore had 1,000 yards rushing in each of them, and fell just short of that last year, as he only played in eleven games.
That's the big question mark for Gore, how much tread is left on the tires and how much more can he take before he just can't play anymore. Frank's draft positioning coming into the league was hurt by injury concerns out of college, and they've followed him in the NFL. He missed games in every season other than 2006, where he came just short of the 1,700 yard mark. Is he at a point where his body just won't let him go at the level he wants to anymore?
I honestly don't think so. Gore has been the bell cow of this offense, but it's never appeared like he gets injured "easily." He gets hit hard, and he gets hurt because of it - it's that simple. I don't expect Gore to get hurt anymore in 2011 than I did in previous years, and for that, my confidence in him will not waver. He's "the guy" this year, and Jim Harbaugh plans to use him just as much as seasons past, with a deviation here and there for Anthony Dixon to get some more carries.
So, to confidence levels, how do we feel about Gore going into 2011 as the starter, with Dixon as his backup at this point. A '10' implies that there are zero concerns, Gore is going to beast and opposing players are going to weep openly after football games in which they failed to prevent Frank Gore from ballin' all over them. Let's say an '8' implies something along the lines of you are very confident in Gore, but your only caveat is injury concerns. A '6' or so would imply that you just think he doesn't have much left to give. '5' and below would just be varying degrees of shot confidence, implying that he's not that good anymore, you wanted him traded, you need a better backup or you just didn't think Gore was too good or overrated in the first place. Crazy talk, by the way.