The San Francisco 49ers came within one play of a second Super Bowl appearance in two years last season but will be forced to rebuild carefully this offseason.
Jim Harbaugh's team have just $9 million in cap space for next season but have a number of difficult contract situations including Anquan Boldin's impending free agency and running back Frank Gore entering the last year of his contract.
Gore, who will be in his 10th season with the 49ers and has continued to flourish in recent years, rushing for over 1,000 yards in each of the past three years.
It did seem that the former Miami Hurricane would be asked to take a pay cut in a restructured deal but now 49ers GM Trent Baalke has hinted that is not the case.
Baalke gushed over Gore's talents during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week:
“A-plus, plus. I mean, how can you argue with the statistics?” Baalke said. “And he brings so much more to the team, I think we all know that. Frank’s an extremely passionate guy, loves the game of football, he loves the organization. He’s everything we’re looking for from a DNA standpoint, and he’s an awfully good football player and he’s a great teammate.”
It would appear from Baalke's comments that the 49ers would look to expand their cap room by restructuring other deals and keep hold of their franchise running back.
However, it would seem unlikely that Anquan Boldin would be one to take less money after he led the receiving corps in San Francisco for long stretches this season without Michael Crabtree.
Plenty a hard decision await Baalke and his staff this offseason in San Francisco.