Before the beginning of the season many people asked if Frank Gore still had anything left in the tank. However, he showed up to play and many of his critics have been silenced. As of this writing he has put up 821 yards in 12 games and is on pace to hit 1094 yards this season. As such, he hasn't been drawing much criticism.
One thing that has been overlooked is that Gore's YPC at this point in the season are at an all time low at 4.0. Some might argue that defenses have been stacking 8 in the box against him because of the lack of WR threat this season, but this isn't something new. In 2012, Frank Gore faced eight in the box more than any other RB in the league. PFF doesn't have the numbers posted for this year, but it's unlikely that teams have stacked the box against us all that more often this year than in the past.
In short, in spite of Gore's respectable yardage this year, he is averaging 4.0 yards per carry this season. To give some perspective, every RB drafted in 2013 up until the 5th round (a historically weak year for RB's) has a higher YPC than Frank Gore. There are two exceptions. Le'Veon Bell, who missed the preseason and has been playing through injury behind the worst OL in the NFL. The other exception is our very own Marcus Lattimore. Sure, other RB's are not facing boxes stacked as often, but it's telling that he still hasn't been able to match YPC of RB's who are thought to be far worse than him.
Next year Frank Gore is scheduled to make $6,450,000 with none of it being guaranteed. The 49ers will have Gore, Kendall Hunter, LMJ and Marcus Lattimore on the roster. In short, there will be too much talent and not enough snaps to go around for all four players. It's not much of a stretch to say that one of these players will be traded away during the offseason. In fact, I'd argue that it's a near certainty and I'll eat my words if I'm wrong.
In order for Frank Gore to remain on the team he's going to absolutely have to take a pay cut to remain or he will be traded away. In all likelihood, Gore has hit the wall that RB's hit at 30, no matter how much we would like to believe otherwise. He is still a productive RB, but he's no longer the threat he once was.
My guess is that he takes the pay cut and loses the starting job. Does anyone else see any realistic scenarios if we'll absolutely be resigning Kaepernick and Aldon Smith?