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The Future is Bright

I think it's safe to say, happiness reigns supreme in 49ers land today.  Len Pasquarelli is reporting that the 49ers have come to terms with Frank Gore on a 4 year extension that will keep him with the team through 2011.  Since Gore is still under his original rookie contract, the deal rolls that in to create a 5-year deal worth $28.012 million.  I'm still trying to work out the details but it appears that after 2007, in which Gore will receive a base salary of $450,000, the deal breaks down as follows:

  • Signing Bonus: $6,500,000
  • Option Bonus: $4,165,000 (Any details on this works out there?)
  • 2008 - Base Salary: $2,500,000
  • 2009 - Base Salary: $2,500,000; Roster Bonus: $1,750,000
  • 2010 - Base Salary: $2,850,000; Roster Bonus: $1,850,000
  • 2011 - Base Salary: $2,900,000; Roster Bonus: $1,750,000

Suffice it to say, Frank Gore gets his cash, and the 49ers get their running back at a relatively reasonable rate for the next five seasons.  NFL salaries can be hard to nail down considering how often they're renegotiated with base salaries lowered, bonuses increased or any other sort of cap shenanigans.  However, USA Today has a database of 2005 salaries, which I thought I would check out.  I sorted it by running back and then in order of total salary (including base + all bonuses).  I chose this over cap value because of how those numbers can be manipulated.  In 2005, your top 3 running backs by total salary were Rudi Johnson ($10,250,000), Edgerrin James ($9,081,000) and KEVAN BARLOW!!!! ($8,131,400).  I say Niners Nation should put together a nice, big Christmas card every year to send to the Jets.  Simply amazing.  Factor in the last year of Gore's rookie deal and the contract is worth an average of $5.6 million a year.  Even if you throw out the rookie year $7 million per is not so bad for a top of the line running back.

When you're dealing with salaries of professional athletes, obviously everything has to be taken with a grain of salt.  In the players' world, this is a deal that benefits Gore in making him a more highly paid player.  In the salary cap world, the 49ers have put together a deal that will not cripple them cap-wise.  In terms of on-field talent, the 49ers have proven once again this offseason, that they are willing to lock up talent for the long term.  And let's face it, a bruising running back does not have the longest career average in the NFL.  I'd like to hope Frank Gore will be bowling over defensive backs in 7 or 8 years.  However, even if he doesn't make it that long, we're getting him in the absolute prime of his career.

One final note that I think will get overlooked in all this is that Drew Rosenhaus, a man many look upon as Satan incarnate helped get this deal worked out.  When Rosenhaus is mentioned, people automatically think of this guy or the 2003 NFL Draft when he drummed up interest in Willis McGahee by making fake phone calls.  However, he has made a point in interviews to state that he would prefer his guy get into camp, rather than hold out.  Maybe the next 10 Rosenhaus clients hold out, but all that matters to me right now is that our guy did not.  Gore, Rosenhaus and the 49ers worked out a deal that truly benefits all parties involved.  Gore has proven he has the desire, the will and the work ethic to be an elite running back and now he'll get paid like one.  The season can NOT start soon enough.

[EDITOR'S UPDATE - 1:45PM] Sprint Right Option posted Matt Maiocco's latest blog with a great piece on what Gore's gone through to get to this point. Makes you feel good for him.