NFL free agency: 5 former 49ers who are still unemployed in 2021

Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Frank Gore, NY Jets, SF 49ers
New York Jets running back Frank Gore (21) Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 4: Running Back Frank Gore

While San Francisco fans probably have little problem bidding farewell to Jerick McKinnon, they’re probably a little upset by the fact the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, Frank Gore, hasn’t signed anywhere this offseason yet.

Gore will sign another contract. He made that perfectly clear, already saying he intends to retire with the 49ers when his NFL playing days are over.

But for those hoping to see Gore continue his climb up the all-time NFL rushers list, they’d want that contract to be a little more than the ceremonious one-day deal.

Despite playing in an abysmal New York Jets offense last season, Gore was still able to churn out 653 rush yards at the tender “young” age of 37 years old. Gore suffered a lung injury late in 2020, which capped off those efforts and led to him amassing a perfect total of 16,000 rush yards over 16 seasons played — third all time behind Hall of Famers Walter Payton (16,726) and Emmitt Smith (18,355).

There’s a decent argument the Niners should entertain a reunion with Gore for more than just a one-day retirement contract. San Francisco could use some veteran leadership on offense even though the running back depth chart looks set.

Yet just like the rest of the league, it’s also understandable why the 49ers could be hesitant to use a roster spot on an aging player coming off an injury when the long-term fit simply isn’t there.

Either way, one can only hope Gore is given another chance to continue his Hall of Fame-trajectory climb in 2021.