Gore reaches agreement with 49ers through 2011
When the San Francisco 49ers selected tailback Frank Gore in the third round of the 2005 draft, the former University of Miami star proved to be one of the biggest steals in the last several seasons. On Tuesday evening, the 49ers opened up their coffers to Gore, the NFC rushing leader in 2006.
ESPN.com has reported that the 49ers have reached an agreement with Frank Gore to extend the contract of their star running back. Pretty much under the radar by NFL standards, Gore ran for 1,695 yards and averaged 5.43 yards per carry during the 2006 season.
Don't just sail past those numbers; they're special. Only five other players in NFL history have enjoyed seasons in which they reached the Gore levels for both rushing yards and yards per carry: Jim Brown (1963), O.J. Simpson (1973 and 1975), Walter Payton (1977), Eric Dickerson (1984) and Barry Sanders (1994 and 1997).
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The 49ers reached agreement with Gore on a four-year contract extension through 2011, with the deal averaging just shy of $7 million in terms of so-called "new money."
Gore will receive an initial signing bonus of $6.5 million and total guarantees of nearly $14 million. The contract will pay Gore $13.862 million in its first two seasons and $18.212 million in the first three years. Because Gore had one season remaining on his original rookie contract, the four-year extension creates a five-year deal, and the total value over the course of the five seasons is $28.012 million.
Base salaries are $450,000 (for 2007), $2.5 million (2008), $2.5 million (2009), $2.85 million (2010) and $2.9 million (2011). The contract includes a $4.165 million option bonus and roster bonuses of $1.75 million (2009), $1.85 million (2010) and $2 million (2011). Gore's full base salary of $2.5 million in 2009 is guaranteed.
San Francisco officials acknowledged at the end of the 2006 season that, in keeping with their recent initiative to secure their nucleus players for the long-term, they hoped to sign Gore to an extension. Through negotiations with agent Drew Rosenhaus, this deal continues a string of big-money contracts for tailbacks that have been ongoing and were ratcheted up in recent days.
The deal is unusual in that it comes after Gore has logged only two seasons in the NFL and after he overcame severe knee and shoulder injuries to emerge as one of the league's premier runners.
"It's a little early; Frank just finished his second year. But we identified somebody we want in Frank. He's a young player and we wanted to extend it and it's still very early in his career," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said, according to The Associated Press.
Gore, 23, played as the backup to Kevan Barlow as a rookie in 2005, then won the starting job in training camp last summer. Starting in all 16 games, he carried 312 times for 1,695 yards and eight touchdowns. In two seasons, he has 2,303 yards and 11 scores on 439 carries, appearing in 30 games, with 17 starts.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.
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