NY Jets: Projecting Frank Gore’s role on the team in 2020
By Jack Dorfsman
The NY Jets signed running back Frank Gore to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Take a look at the value he provides and what his role on the team may be.
The NY Jets officially signed former All-Pro running back Frank Gore to a one-year contract earlier on Tuesday. The soon to be 37-year old spent the last two seasons in the AFC East, with the Miami Dolphins in 2018, and the Buffalo Bills in 2019.
The news took some Jets fans by surprise, including me. In his prime, Gore was an elite running back for the 49ers, and put up okay numbers in his three-year tenure with the Indianapolis Colts from 2015 to 2017.
Since then, Gore has been nothing above league average. He ran for 722 and 599 yards in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Him being in his mid-30s is obviously a factor in his production, but those numbers don’t really warrant a contract from a team already paying big money to a running back, in my opinion.
The details of the contract are unknown, but we do know that the deal is just for one year. He’ll most likely get somewhere around a few million dollars, and nothing more. You’re not paying Gore to be a workhorse back that’s going to start 16 games, you’re paying him to provide depth.
The big question regarding Gore is where he fits on the Jets roster, and trying to figure out what exactly his role could be.
The team spent a fourth-round pick on Florida running back La’Mical Perine in the draft. I don’t think it makes any sense for Gore to receive playing time over Perine, especially if the plan is to groom Perine to become Le’Veon Bell‘s successor.
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That’s where my confusion sets in.
Gore is by no means broken down, or at the end of the road. He still provides value in the short-term and is a good locker room presence. It just doesn’t make a ton of sense for a team like the Jets.
On top of that, his skillset seems a little redundant behind the powerful Bell and Perine. It would have benefitted the Jets to have signed a quicker, more agile running back who could run more effectively outside the tackles.
Whether he’s the number two back or the third-stringer, Gore brings value to the position. Outside of on-field production, Gore has been known to be a leader and a great presence in any locker room he’s a part of.
Head coach Adam Gase coached him in Miami in 2018, and Douglas has proven that he wants to bring in leaders, so the move makes sense on that part.
It’s never a bad idea to bring in an established veteran, especially to a team as young as the Jets. The question really becomes what the contract looks like.
A team that’s paying Le’Veon Bell $15 million in 2020 can’t afford to pay a 37-year-old depth piece much. Even if it’s $5 million, that’s a lot. In a vacuum, $5 million for a player isn’t a ton, but when you take a look at the rest of the roster, question marks certainly arise.
If I seemed pessimistic at points, it’s because of the team’s history in giving out contracts to players they don’t really need to. I’m not saying that’s the case with Gore, however, it does raise a few eyebrows.
The contract parameters will be another factor, but I’d assume the deal isn’t for much more than a few million. That combined with the confusing scheme fit makes me pause at the deal.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Frank Gore signing can bring value to the Jets. Whether it be as depth or a mentor to Perine, Gore can show his worth this season.