The San Francisco 49ers will face a decision this offseason with regard to running back Frank Gore. The 10-year veteran is hitting free agency for the first time in his career, and the 49ers have a potential replacement for him in the form of rookie running back Carlos Hyde. Gore has been pretty chill about the whole situation, understanding the nature of the business. He has said he would like to continue playing with the 49ers, but he knows things can change.
San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke spoke with CSN Bay Area on Tuesday, and he confirmed that the team does want Gore back. He told CSN that he and Gore briefly spoke about it on Monday. Of course, he also clarified that two sides could want to continue working together, but that does not mean they will be able to work something out. There are questions of playing time and money that need to be sorted out. If they can't come to terms on Gore's role and/or how much he will be paid, a deal will probably not get done. The whole article is worth a read, but here is what is really the most important takeaway:
You have to look at the situation. Frank is going to want to discuss his role, and what that role is going to be moving forward. What is the contract itself going to look like? We can both want each other's company, but to make that happen, there are hurdles that are going to have to be crossed.
Heading into training camp, I figured the odds were long that Gore would be around after 2014. We had not seen anything from Carlos Hyde yet, but expectations were fairly high for him. And of course, the 49ers also had Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, and potentially Marcus Lattimore at some point. Two of those three are gone, and Hunter will be coming back from a torn ACL.
The 49ers will need to add more bodies just to field the necessary depth chart. The question becomes what kind of role would the 49ers envision for Gore and Hyde in 2015. Do they look to split carries more evenly, or do they potentially flip-flop roles to some degree. We don't know for certain what Gore wants next year, but I have to think he would be looking for a bigger role than the No. 2 running back. He has been inconsistent this season, but he has shown several times that he can still be a strong back for a team. If he can find a starting job elsewhere, the two sides might just decide it's time to part ways.