Gore-49ers situation described as 'volatile'

August 21, 2011, 7:28 pm
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
When the 49ers drafted running back Frank Gore in the third round of the 2005 draft, they were not sure how long his body would hold up.After all, his college career was cut short due to serious knee injuries. And he is not the kind of runner to shy away from contact, though he does run with a low center of gravity, giving defensive players a difficult target.There was division within the 49ers in 2007 about how to approach his first contract extension. Then-coach Mike Nolan had an affinity for Gore, and he wanted to take care of him. So after Gore rushed for a team-record 1,695 yards, they tore up the rest of his contract and gave him a significant raise.PFT: With Gore, 49ers far apart, trade request next?
Even though the 49ers could have controled his rights for at least two more seasons, they awarded him a new contract that contained four years of new money, including a signing bonus of 6.5 million and an option bonus of more than 4 million.Now that Gore is entering the final year of his contract, he wants another extension. The 49ers promised him good-faith negotiations to end his brief holdout, and it seemed likely that a new deal would be coming his way before the start of the regular season."Hopefully, it will get done before the season," Gore said last week. "If it doesn't, I've just got to go play and if I have to be a free agent, I'll be a free agent."Coach Jim Harbaugh has spoken optimistically about a deal that will keep Gore on the 49ers beyond this season. "I'm confident we'll work out something fair, hopefully soon," Harbaugh said.But Pro Football Talk, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, wrote Sunday that Gore is looking for "DeAngelo Williams money." That means five years, 43 million with 21 million guaranteed.There is no way the 49ers are going to give Gore anything approaching that kind of money. The situation is described as "volatile," and Gore's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, could request a trade.Gore is still a great player, but the 49ers are reluctant to invest too much in his future. He is 28 years old, and he's played 16 games only once in his six NFL seasons. Gore is scheduled to earn 4.9 million (2.9 million base salary plus 2 million roster bonus) this season.
The 49ers are also working from a position of leverage, as they seemingly have more capable backups than ever: Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon and, even, Xavier Omon.RELATED: 49ers notes: Hunter provides highlights
However, Gore is working from a position of strength, too. The 49ers are a much-better team when he's on the field. The team's hopes for Harbaugh's first season could rest with their ability to smooth things over with their best offensive player.

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