With the Miami Dolphins officially in offseason mode, the team must begin looking ahead towards rebuilding the team in 2019. One of the most important factors in how to reconstruct the Dolphins into a contender will be deciding who stays and who goes, something that will be evaluated through March 13th: the official start of the new League Year.
Until NFL free agency opens on March 13th, I will be reviewing the impending free agents on the Miami Dolphins and evaluating whether or not the team should retain them, tag them, or let them walk. When front offices choose how to handle their upcoming free agents, they take a variety of factors into account, including age, production, and value, so I will be doing the same. Today, we begin with the ageless legend, Frank Gore.
Experience: 15th season
Height/Weight: 5’9”, 212 lbs
College: Miami (Fla.)
2018 Stat Review
Up until his Week 15, injury, Gore had been used as Miami’s primary running back in tandem with Kenyan Drake. Gore started 14 straight games, rushing for 722 yards with an average of 4.6 yards per cary, his highest ypc mark since 2012. Gore also tacked on 12 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown.
Gore carried the ball fewer than 200 times for the first year since his rookie season, but his efficiency was higher than it had been in years. At this point in his career, Gore could still be used effectively as the early down hammer in a power back role to complement a shiftier and more explosive runner like Drake, whether with the Dolphins or elsewhere.
Gore’s future with Miami seems to be in doubt moving forward given Adam Gase’s departure from the team. Gase seemed to be the person within the organization who had the highest affinity for the veteran ball carrier, and with Gase out of the building, it’ll but up to a new coaching staff and general manager Chris Grier to decide whether or not Gore should be back next season. Given that Gore hails from South Florida and is coming up on the end of his Hall of Fame career, it’d make sense that he’d be willing to sign on for another year.
Last month, Gore told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that he’d like to be back with the Dolphins. “The goal is to come back one more year. I’ll see who wants me. Hopefully the Dolphins can re-sign me — that would be big. But you know how the business goes.”
One factor weighing against Gore’s return is fact that the Dolphins are in a state of rebuild, a time when NFL franchises generally look to develop younger players. With a young stud like Drake on the roster and promising second year runner Kalen Ballage vying for more carries, the team may shy away from featuring an older back like Gore when that can be seen as stunting the growth of young talent. Then again, Drake routinely lauded Gore for his willingness to mentor, and having a veteran presence in the running back room, especially one that is so respected league-wide can’t be taken for granted.
If the Dolphins were to let Gore walk, Drake and Ballage would be thrust into larger roles. Thus far, we haven’t seen Drake carry a full load in the running game, as he’s yet to average 10+ rushing attempts per game over the course of a season and seems to thrive as a third-down/change of pace back. Using Ballage as the early-down power back in place of Gore while increasing Drake’s running game usage slightly could be a recipe for success, but there’s no guarantee Ballage is ready for such a role, especially when it comes to the finer facets of the game like pass protection.
With regards to contract details, Gore signed a one-year, $1,105,000 deal with the team last offseason. If he were to be brought back, it’s expected that his new contract would be quite similar.
While there seem to be a few obstacles towards Gore’s return, bringing him back on a veteran minimum deal would be a cost-effective move that would give the Dolphins a safety net option if Ballage isn’t ready to play a larger role alongside Drake. If Ballage is up to the task, the team can scale back Gore’s game-day involvement while still benefiting from his leadership in the locker room.
My vote: Retain
Should the Dolphins retain Frank Gore, or let him walk?
This poll is closed
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