Previously I had talked about key free agents that I felt the 49ers should keep in order to maintain their high-level play but these free agents aren’t the only difficult decisions that San Francisco has to deal with this off season.
Over the better part of a decade, Gore has been one of the most durable and most productive, and most underrated running backs in the NFL. He is already the franchise’s leading rusher with 9,967 yards and is part of a core group that has been through the ups and downs with the organization. He has now reached that daunted running back age of 30 and although he has stayed healthy for most of his NFL career, he body has still taken a beating. Because he is an older running back and scheduled to make roughly 6.5 million next year the 49ers would certainly be inclined to cut him but because he is Frank Gore, that’s not going to happen. Instead he may be asked to restructure his deal or take a pay cut. On the field he may be asked to adapt as well. Last year, San Francisco drafted Marcus Lattimore, a fine running back out of Louisville who would have been a first rounder if not for his knee injury. After shutting him down for 2013, he is now ready to go and barring any injury he is going to make an impact this upcoming season. So what will Frank Gore’s future with the 49ers be? He will definitely be back next year but look for his role to slightly diminish and as is part of the NFL, “make room for the young guy”.
If there was anybody you’d expect the 49ers to cut, I’d be Rogers. In three years with the 49ers Rogers has been a very good player especially in 2011 when he had six interceptions. He clearly revitalized his career with the Niners after his stint is Washington but at age 32 and his salary at 6.6 million, San Francisco can’t afford to keep him if they want to try and sign some of their other free agents. It became more evident that Rogers was expandable in the playoffs where he missed a couple of games and the 49ers looked great with Brown, Brock and Cox in the secondary. If he wants to stay he’d have to take a massive pay cut but look don’t be surprised if both parties decide to move on.
Calm down, the 49ers aren’t looking to cut him but with his injury, they will have to find a way to replace his production which is near impossible. Last year Bowman emerged the 49ers best defensive player which is a high honor given that he shares the field with guys like Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, and Justin Smith. He also made himself one of the best players in the NFL and should’ve won the DPOY but his season ended with a horrible injury and currently there is no timetable on his return so now the 49ers must find a way to hold down the fort. They can obviously look for depth in the draft but their number one option should clearly be to bring back Michael Wilhoite. The three year pro, filled in extremely well when Patrick Willis went down earlier in the year that included an 13 tackle game against Houston. Wilhoite was undrafted so he has had to fight his way to make a team and has clearly shown that he belongs.