BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When the new year starts on Wednesday, the Buffalo Bills are poised to sign veteran running back Frank Gore, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Bills have agreed with Frank Gore on a 1-year, $2 million deal, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2019
Gore, 35, most recently played for the Miami Dolphins. 2018 was his only season with the team. Prior to 2018, the 14-year veteran played three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and 10 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Gore was drafted by the 49ers in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
With the addition, the Bills have a new oldest running back. LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory are both 30 years old.
The oldest RB room in the league just got older. But for $2M I’m not going to act like the sky is falling for a guy who will probably be in the Hall of Fame. Wonder if they move on from Ivory? https://t.co/VKfKAhycL5— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) March 11, 2019
Frank Gore has 14,748 career rushing yards and 77 rushing touchdowns. He has higher career stats in both categories than McCoy (10,606 rushing yards, 75 rushing touchdowns), though Mccoy has played 10 seasons to Gore's 14.
Joe B's Take
- The jokes will be flying in from all over the place about the Bills having the oldest running back room in the NFL by a comfortable margin, but in terms of the on-the-field evaluation, Gore is still a player that can contribute with a reduced workload.
While with the Miami Dolphins in 2018, Gore looked refreshed and still flashed some of the explosiveness he's had throughout his career. And for the Bills, his addition is likely for a few reasons.
For starters, it helps by putting a capable running back that still with some game left in the Bills' running back room, and if the Bills are to go into the season with the trio of Gore, LeSean McCoy, and Chris Ivory, having a three-headed attack will keep everyone fresh. Another big piece to this signing is the leadership Gore brings with him, which is an important facet to head coach Sean McDermott.
In McDermott's eyes, he would like to have a leader in each positional room. While the Bills have both McCoy and Ivory, Gore comes in as the player that will command respect and set an example for younger players on how to work and operate.
Lastly, he and McCoy have been close and McCoy has always publicly discussed his admiration for Gore and everything he's done in his career. This is a signing that, despite likely taking carries away from him, is one that McCoy must be over the moon about.
However, it also raises quite a few questions, too.
The first of which is the obvious. Are the Bills really going to go into the season with a three-headed running back room of players 31-years-old and up?
I think this likely provides the Bills with some insurance here. It costs the Bills nothing to go into training camp with all three running backs on the roster, but should Ivory show signs of slowing down with his battering ram running style, they could choose to move on from him and save around $2.1 million on the salary cap.
In addition, the lawsuit surrounding McCoy still exists, and if things were to go awry, this provides the Bills with two players in Gore and Ivory that are capable. That's the worst case scenario for the Bills, but, one that can't be dismissed until the case goes away.
However, this cannot be the end of the line for the Bills adding to their running back room. Without question, the Bills must add a young running back to groom through the 2019 NFL Draft. With plenty of viable options available on Day Two and early Day Three, the Bills will have opportunities to bring in a young runner and allow him to grow with the presence of two or three veteran running backs with varying levels of success in the league.
Above all else, if Gore's leadership was one of the main draws to getting him in Buffalo, it should be equally as important to bring in a young runner to see how the veteran operates on a day-to-day basis to set him on the path to success once he becomes one of the main backs in the rotation. The Bills are long overdue to draft a running back, and are in desperate need for an infusion of youth to the position.
As long as the Bills follow through with drafting a young running back and developing him with Gore, I don't have any problem with the signing. After all, like I wrote before, Gore can still play -- and the Bills need all the help they can get in improving their running game.