Frank Gore's New Contract Is A Pretty Sweet Deal ... For The 49ers

Frank Gore's agents announced yesterday that they had snagged the San Francisco running back a three-year contract extension worth about $21 million.

But as we've seen with many NFL contract lately, the truth is slightly less rosy that the headlines would want you to believe.

To begin, only $13.5 million of it is guaranteed money. Not bad for a 28-year-old running back, as most of the stories about the deal mentioned.
But NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora dug a little deeper and reminds us that "guaranteed money" isn't always so "guaranteed".

The guarantee for 2013-14 is an "injury" guarantee, not a "talent" guarantee. That means it only applies if Gore suffers a catastrophic injury and is unable to play. If his performance suffer and the Niners cut him, they're off the hook.

Also, the guarantee doesn't apply to the final year of the contract if he gets hurt before it begins.

Oh, and there's one other thing: $4.9 million of that $13.5 million total was money from Gore's existing 2011 contract, which they would have had to pay him anyway, with or without the extension. The contract adds nothing to his 2011 salary and provides no extra up-front money or signing bonuses.

So all Drew and Jason Rosenhaus really got him was $8.6 million spread over three years, and most of it guaranteed only if he's physically unable to play. If Gore simply wears down or becomes ineffective, the 49ers can cut him at almost any time and owe absolutely nothing. Even if they do end up paying the injury guarantees, the salary cap hit will be minimal.

Yes, if Gore is healthy and productive, he can earn all $21 million ($13.5 million in salary, plus another $7.5 million in performance and roster bonuses), which is great for him and the 49ers. Gore has stated that he hopes to finish his career with the team that drafted him in 2005 and technically this gives him the opportunity to do so.

But the commitment (and $21 million paycheck) is entirely dependent upon Gore and his ability to be an effective NFL runner for another four years. If he's not, it's no skin off the Niners' back. The risk for San Francisco with this deal is almost non-existent.

As we've seen with the Michael Vick deal and plenty of other big money contracts, the numbers are never what they seem. (Unlike Gore, Vick can't even reach his advertised selling price of $100M.)

But trying telling that to the agent who wants to brag about the big money they earn for their clients.

Click here to order Frank Gore’s proCane Rookie Card.

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