There’s been a lot of talk about the Oakland Raiders pursuing a certain free agent running back with local ties: Marshawn Lynch. However, the Seattle Seahawks would be crazy to cut or trade Lynch, as he’s the foundation of their offense. While Russell Wilson has done very well the past couple of years, the team leans heavily on the legs of Lynch.
But there is another, somewhat older running back that the team should take a look at, one who’s spent his entire professional career across the Bay: Frank Gore. Since becoming the 49ers’ lead back, Gore has put up over 1,000 yards in each of the last nine seasons except for one, 2010, when he missed five games and rushed for 853.
Many will automatically point to the disaster of Maurice Jones-Drew as a reason for the Raiders to stay away from Gore, but the two backs are far from the same. When the Raiders signed MJD, he was coming off a season in which he averaged only 3.4 yards per carry, his career low before the pathetic 2.2 yards per carry he put up with the Raiders. MJD’s rapid decline is likely due to the lisfranc injury that he sustained during the 2013 season.
Gore, on the other hand, has played every game for the Niners over the past four seasons and averaged 4.3 yards per carry in 2014, the fifth-highest mark of his career. At 31, Gore is nearing the end of his career, but he is also a guy who clearly has something left in the tank.
The Raiders have a young back in Latavius Murray who is ready to step in and be their lead back, but he only has one quarter of a season under his belt. He has shown the ability to gain yardage in large chunks, but it’s yet unknown whether he can stay on the field for 15+ carries per game. The Raiders would be wise to find a veteran back who can split carries with Murray and Gore could easily be that guy.
From Ronnie Lott to Jerry Rice to Charlie Garner, the Raiders have seen a few former 49er stars cross the Bay to find success in silver and black. Gore could very well be the next one.