CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers runs through the line as Leon Hall #29 of the Cincinnati Bengals makes the tackle at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. San Francisco defeated Cincinnati 13-8. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
With Frank Gore having a down game Sunday against the Bengals, coupled with his underwhelming performances through the first three outings thus-far, it's become a popular thing to say that the 49ers shouldn't have given him a contract extension. Sure, it's jumping the gun to start closing the book on Gore, but the talk about his "new" deal is baseless.
Let me remind you that Gore's extension included no new money in 2011 and his future salaries are only guaranteed for injury. What this means is that there was no signing bonus, no added money to his 2011 salary, and the "guaranteed money" reported on the deal is only his if he get's injured and is unable to play in future seasons.
Gore could be cut, if it absolutely came to that, due to performance and the 49ers would owe him nothing at all.
Here's an excerpt from what NFL.com insider Jason LaCanfora had to say about Gore's deal:
Gore’s deal includes injury guarantees but not skill guarantees, giving the 49ers great flexibility from year to year. And he didn’t receive any new upfront money in 2011, according to sources. The 49ers could in fact release him based on diminishing production at various times during this season — or the later campaigns covered under the three-year extension — and owe him no guaranteed money.
So please, when you see someone referencing Gore getting a "new deal" at 28...help me by pointing out that what actually happened was the 49ers retain the rights to Gore, if they want, through 2014. It was a perfect deal to keep Gore from free agency but also give the 49ers flexibility should he begin under-performing.