Where could the once great 49ers RB Frank Gore sign?
By: Jake Rajala
Frank Gore laced up his New York Jets cleats and bulldozed over defenders at the age of 37 last season. Gore clearly sits very high on the career rushing yard list — third in NFL history — recording a seismic 16,000 career rushing yards (behind Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith).
Early in this 2021 season, the 38-year-old running back is still contemplating his playing hopes. Gore recently reclaimed that several teams have reached out to express interest in him potentially playing. Gore elaborated by saying that he’s enjoying his time away from the NFL and time spent as a father.
There is no telling if Gore plans to stay away from the game or make another return at some point in the season. It shouldn’t be a surprise if the legendary 49ers RB joins a team in the latter point of the season. We’ve witnessed profiles like CJ Anderson and Marshawn Lynch sign with a squad destined to make a playoff run. It would make a lot of sense for one of the teams interested in Gore to be a very competitive team down the stretch.
I believe it’s unlikely for Gore to join a team in the near future, but there’s strong reason to believe the RB “open to returning” does join a playoff destined team for a shorter trip with potential for high rewards. With that being said, I’m going to outline a few clubs that would pose to be the best fit for Gore.
Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay isn’t scared to make an unorthodox move to improve his team’s winning chances. The Rams have a blockbuster defense, improved passing offense, but their run game hasn’t been quite up to par. Cam Akers, who was the stud of the bunch, was sent to IR prior to the 2021 season. The fellow RB Darrell Henderson has already fought the injury bug and looks to be inactive this upcoming weekend.
The Rams are now leaning on former Pats RB Sony Michel to lead the rushing attack. The RB room may need a fresh face towards the backend of the season. Henderson has already faced injuries and Michel has a rich history of missing game time due to injuries. I don’t foresee them bringing back former disgruntled RB Todd Gurley, so it would make plenty of sense for them to bring in a mature, healthier, true bell-cow by the name of Frank Gore into their building.
The Chicago Bears may not be a dreamy match for the free-agent Gore, but they are a borderline playoff team in desperate need of a RB. The Bears are telling David Montgomery to handle a load of 20 plus touch a game for the long season. Montgomery is a train, but he is not on the mount Rushmore of RBs. Second of all, the Bears need an improved RB2 in the room.
Montgomery and Gore would prove to be a bruising RB tandem in Chi-town and potentially against stingy defenses like TB, NO, and LAR late in the season. Gore has signed with middle-of-the-pack teams before. It would make sense for another modest team with a need at RB to land the all-time great halfback. Gore could also be a great veteran presence for a team potentially being led out by a rookie QB throughout the season.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints should be seen as a very realistic fit for Gore for many reasons. Sean Payton likes to have two-three talented RBs on the roster at the same time. He did cut Latavius Murray before the season, but Murray was a shell of his former self and proved to not be reliable this season. In addition to rolling with two RBs, the Saints had bigger plans for players like Taysom Hill and other depth WRs.
It would make sense for the Saints to scout RBs at some point this season, especially since they started Week 1 with two RBs. They also look like they need a bigger jolt in the running game to help open up the passing game. Gore could be a reliable asset in a three RB rotation or a pivotal factor in a two RB rotation with Alvin Kamara. Gore doesn’t carry an ego even close to that of former Saints RB Adrian Peterson. The former 49ers RB would be accepting of a RB rotation and he could surely help bring a downhill RB presence to the Saints offense. If Saints look near their Week 1 version, then Gore should be expecting to help a playoff team chase another Lombardi trophy.