San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore basically got what he wanted out of his new contract, an extension until 2014. But the Niners got what they wanted as well, a limited amount of guaranteed money and a contract designed to be practically without risk for them.
Gore's $21 million contract is only worth about $13.5 million over the next four years, laden with injury guarantees, not skill guarantees. The 29 year old back will have to stay healthy and very productive to get all his money, something the Niners are almost betting against with this contract.
Included in the $13.5 million guaranteed is the $4.9 million pay for the upcoming season that Gore was already scheduled to receive. His entire $2 million base salary for 2012 is also guaranteed. Gore's base salaries of $3.3 million in both 2013 and 2014 are guaranteed against injury only -- not skill. If Gore's talents dropped off and the 49ers decided to part ways with him after 2012, the 49ers would not incur any salary-cap hit in 2013.And if Gore sustained a catastrophic injury prior before the 2013 season, the 49ers would have to pay only one of the final two years of the "guaranteed money.
The rest of Gore's money comes from roster and production bonuses, earning $100,000 for each game he is on the active roster, while having to accrue 1,600 combined receiving and rushing yards a season for the maximum possible return, a lofty number for any soon to be 30 year old back.
Gore's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, seemed to back off his usual tough negotiations to make a cushy deal in the 49ers favor. If San Francisco wants out of this contract, they could release Gore based on diminishing production during any of the next four seasons and owe him no more guaranteed money, putting all the pressure on Frank to perform at the highest level and stay healthy.
This contract, if anything, will light a fire under Gore's behind because he knows if he doesn't perform he won't be a 49er any more. That being said, it sure doesn't show much respect for the likely all-time rusher of your franchise.
For more on the Niners, head over to Niners Nation.