Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 recently tweeted that the San Francisco 49ers were one of three teams interested in former Vikings running back Toby Gerhart. Gerhart is also apparently being pursued by the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Why are the 49ers interested? Could they land Gerhart?
The 49ers are likely to lose special teams ace and solid, though not incredible, short-yardage back and fill-in fullback Anthony Dixon. Gerhart, who played for Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman at Stanford, could adjust to the 49ers’ scheme quite easily. He also could easily replace Dixon, and perhaps be an upgrade in all areas save special teams.
Then again, the 49ers have too many running backs already. Do they really need another? Signing Gerhart would likely mean the end of another running back’s tenure in the Bay Area–unless it is for Oakland. Despite the number of backs on the 49ers’ roster, they do not have any big bruisers, save for the fullback Bruce Miiller. Gerhart could be a very valuable addition in Harbaugh’s scheme.
The 49ers have not made a habit of bringing in former Stanford players who played under Harbaugh. Gerhart, however, is an intriguing candidate to break this trend and would look quite nice back in a red jersey. Unfortunately, the Jaguars beat the 49ers to him. Only time will tell if Dixon returns.