The San Francisco 49ers have a decision to make with regard to free agent running back Frank Gore. This year marks the first time Gore will hit the open market since entering the NFL. Gore has said he would like to come back, and Trent Baalke has said he'd like Gore back, but there is plenty to be figured out if that is going to happen.
The 49ers have a month of negotiation time before Gore and his agent can start legally talking with other teams. My guess is Gore ends up hitting the market to see what it has to offer. It will be an interesting market this spring, with numerous notable running backs hitting the market. At this point, alongside Gore, the running back market includes:
This does not include players who might be released. Adrian Peterson is the most high profile such player, and there is still no word on Marshawn Lynch's status for next year. Whatever the case, there will be a bit of musical chairs for some teams looking for running backs.
The 49ers opportunity to potentially re-sign Gore (if they are in fact looking to do that) will depend in part on how the market shakes out. There is some serious talent in free agency, but running backs have started to see themselves getting less and less money in free agency. Running backs wear down, and we are seeing teams even waiting in the draft to select them.
Teams on the lookout for running backs could include the Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Atlanta Falcons. Teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns very well might decide for one reason or another they need to add a running back. The running back market is not an easy one to figure out these days given the evolution of the position.
Given the market and talent meeting up come March, is it possible Gore does not find an outside offer that will exceed what the 49ers have to offer? You can run through 2015 contracts to get a sense of what running backs are making in 2015. You can consider total contract value, but you are better suited sorting by guaranteed money. Normally I would suggest Over The Cap, but their contracts page seems to be showing 2014 contracts.