The San Francisco 49ers have several salary cap issues to figure out in the coming weeks, ranging from free agents to potential retirements, to possible cap casualties. General manager Trent Baalke met with the media on Wednesday, including a formal session (transcript), and then what appeared to be an informal session with Bay Area media (Maiocco, Barrows).
In the latter session, Baalke had a chance to speak about several notable 49ers. Here are a few quick thoughts on each.
Vernon Davis: Baalke said he "absolutely" "envisions" seeing Davis on the 49ers roster in 2015. I have the words in separate quotation marks because it appears the question was if he envisioned Davis on the roster, and he said absolutely. While absolutely is a strong word, in the context of that question, I would take it with a grain of salt. I do think we see Davis back next year, and this answer does provide a little more substance. But I don't think this statement tells us everything we need to know.
NaVorro Bowman/Patrick Willis: According to Maiocco, Baalke intimated Bowman and Willis would be back in 2015. Baalke said, "I think if you look into those numbers, they're not as daunting as you might think." Both are coming off injury, and Willis is getting a bit up there in age. Walter Football had one of their writers report about word at the Senior Bowl that "Willis could be shopped...or end up being a cap casualty", but it was fairly general stuff. Given his age, injury and cap number, and the nature of the NFL with older players, that certainly "could" be considered. However, I would not put a lot of stock in that as anything more than some idle speculation, as opposed to something that has a strong chance of happening.
Frank Gore: In the earlier session, Baalke said he had recently spoken on the phone with Gore. Here is what Baalke had to say:
"Frank's, everyone asks that question all the time. I think I've been asked that question for five straight years now. Frank's just the Energizer battery, he just keeps on ticking. The last two games of the season, I think you saw what Frank still has left in the tank. A very good football player. One of the most passionate, if not the most passionate football player I've ever been around. So, I still think he's got it in him. I know that he still believes it. I talked to him the other day on the phone and we're going to do what we can to get him back as a 49er."
This does not really change much of anything at this point. Even though the 49ers seemingly want Gore back on the roster, we know the dollar figures have to match up. Gore has said he is fine competing for a job, but a contract with few guarantees would likely be an indicator that his chances of being the No. 1 back are pretty slim.