The Frank Gore era with the 49ers appears to be over.
The free-agent running back is poised to sign a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, ESPN.com reported Sunday. ESPN's Adam Schefter said Gore will sign for a $5 million a year, with $7.655 million guaranteed.
Carlos Hyde now becomes the heir apparent to Gore. As a rookie in 2014, the second-round draft choice out of Ohio State proved to be a more than capable backup, rushing for 333 yards and four touchdowns. The Niners will undoubtedly look to get a veteran to push the 6-foot, 235-pound Hyde for the starting job.
The 49ers' all-time leading rusher, who turns 32 in May, fills a void for the Eagles, who just traded top rusher LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso. Gore comes at a cheaper price, although he is five years older than McCoy, who has agreed to a five-year, $40 million contract ($26.5 million guaranteed) with the Bills.
The NFL is currently in the middle of a 72-hour negotiating window, which started Saturday. Free agents can officially sign contracts Tuesday at 1 p.m., when the new league year begins.
Gore has rushed for 11,073 yards (averaging 4.5 yards per carry) and 64 touchdowns since being a third-round draft pick out of Miami (Fla.) in 2005. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Gore has been a starter since his second season in the NFL. He has four straight seasons of at least 1,100 yards rushing and has only failed to reach 1,000 yards in his rookie season and 2010. His 2010 season was cut short due to a hip injury.
The 5-foot-9, 215-pound Gore figures to get a bulk of the carries for the Eagles while splitting time with the speedy Darren Sproles in coach Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense. In his first season with the Ealges, Sproles, 31, had 329 yards on 57 carries (5.8 yards per attempt) and scored six touchdowns. He was also a receiving threat, with 387 yards on 40 receptions, but no touchdowns. Conversely, Gore caught just 11 passes for 111 yards in 2014 — including a 55-yard TD.
The 49ers are in the midst of an offseason overhaul. It started with the departure of coach Jim Harbaugh, who was replaced by defensive line coach Jim Tomsula after a conflict with CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke.
Meanwhile, the 49ers could add another receiving threat to the fold. The Baltimore Sun said the 49ers are the “front-runners” Torrey Smith, who averages 16.9 yards per reception and has scored 30 TDs in 64 regular-season games. Smith, also a dynamic return man, is a former Ravens teammate of current 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin.
The 49ers, who are likely to lose receiver Michael Crabtree via free agency, last week also signed receiver Jerome Simpson.