Currently, there are only five running backs on NFL rosters who are 30 years of age or older. The Buffalo Bills employ two of them. While most of the league has gone significantly younger at the position, the Bills have a depth chart topped by two of the three oldest rushers in the league. Both players are likely future Hall of Fame players, but it’s fair to wonder just how much more they have left in the tank.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile the oldest running back in the league—a player who keeps churning out tough yards against players who were in elementary school when his career began.
Name: Frank Gore
Height/Weight: 5’9” 212 lbs.
Age: 36 (37 on 5/14/20)
College: Miami (FL)
Acquired: signed as unrestricted free agent with Buffalo on 3/13/19
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Gore signed a one-year deal with Buffalo worth $2 million. The contract includes a $500,000 signing bonus, so if the Bills are to release Gore prior to Week 1, that is all they’ll be charged on the salary cap. If Gore is on the Week 1 roster, then his whole salary becomes guaranteed.
2018 Recap: Gore carried the ball fewer times than he had in any season since his rookie year, but he managed to have an outstanding season overall. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry, his highest total since 2012, totaling 722 rushing yards on 156 carries. For the first time as a professional, he did not have a rushing touchdown. He did manage to catch a touchdown pass, however, totaling 12 receptions for 124 yards to go with the score.
Positional outlook: Gore’s teammates include LeSean McCoy, who also could be enshrined in Canton someday. Rookie Devin Singletary is the heir-apparent at the position, with T.J. Yeldon, Marcus Murphy, Senorise Perry, and Christian Wade rounding out the depth chart.
2019 Offseason: Gore has participated in all offseason activities to date, receiving some rest along the way (as would any veteran at this stage of the offseason).
2019 Season outlook: Gore having a good NFL season is an inevitability similar to death and taxes—we just know it’s going to keep happening. His level of productivity last season was outstanding on a per-touch basis, and if the Bills follow a plan similar to Miami’s last year by splitting carries, it could have multiple positive effects, for not only will their 36-year-old running back benefit from a smaller workload, their 31-year-old running back should, as well. Gore is my bet to lead the Bills in rushing, and his bruising north-south style is a great complement to McCoy’s shake-and-bake prowess. If the Bills can keep their old guys healthy, they should see an uptick in production out of the backfield, and Gore should be a big part of the reason why.