- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
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Whether by hook, crook, free agency or retirement, the San Francisco 49ers endured a mass exodus of notable players this offseason. As such, I reached out to other ESPN.com NFL Nation reporters who cover the teams where several former 49ers landed to get their respective takes on how said players looked in their offseason workouts.
The defensive and special team players appeared earlier this week here. Let's conclude, then, with a look at four high-profile offensive players ...
"Seamless. That's the way Colts coach Chuck Pagano has described the transition [Frank] Gore has made from San Francisco to Indianapolis. Gore became the Colts' starting running back before the ink on his contract dried on March 10. The Colts and Gore are the perfect match. Andrew Luck has only had one player -- Vick Ballard -- rush for 100 yards in a game one time in his three years, and that was late in the 2012 season. You wonder at times how Luck has managed to be so effective without a running game. Defenses can no longer play back and dare the Colts to run the ball because Gore will gauge them. He's just as excited about joining the Colts because he said this is the first time in his career he won't have to face eight or nine men in the box on a regular basis because of Luck's arm. The best thing Gore has said so far is that he doesn't need to dominate the ball. He's fine if they throw the ball 50 times a game or if he has to carry it 30 times a game. He simply wants to win after missing out on the playoffs last season." -- Mike Wells, Indianapolis Colts reporter, on running back Frank Gore, the 49ers' third-round draft pick in 2005 and all-time leading rusher with 11,073 yards who signed a three-year, $12 million free-agent deal with the Colts.
"[Michael] Crabtree was the Oakland Raiders' best wide receiver for about half a month. After a long wait in free agency, Crabtree crossed the bay and joined the Raiders, answering their need for a veteran receiver. However, when the Raiders took Alabama receiver Amari Cooper with the No. 4 draft overall pick, Crabtree instantly became the Raiders' No. 2 receiver. That's fine. That's what he is these days, anyway, and he will still help the Raiders. Cooper and Crabtree is a big starting tandem upgrade in Oakland. Even if Crabtree has seen better days, he can still equal his 2014 season with the 49ers when he had 68 catches for 698 yards. With big things expected from Cooper, the Raiders would be thrilled if Crabtree can be a consistent chain mover as a second option." -- Bill Williamson, Oakland Raiders reporter, on receiver Michael Crabtree, the 49ers' first-round pick in 2009, No. 10 overall, who signed a one-year, $3 million free-agent deal with $2 million in incentives with the Raiders.
"If there was one seamless transition from last season to next year during the offseason it was with new guard Mike Iupati. He signed with the Cardinals during free agency and had an immediate impact on the offensive line. He'll be teaming with fellow former Bay area alum Jared Veldheer (who played his first four seasons in Oakland) to form what could be considered one of the best left guard-left tackle combos in the league. Iupati was signed at a time when Arizona was in dire need to improve its running game and coach Bruce Arians has said the plan is simple in 2015: Run behind Iupati and Veldheer. Iupati doesn't say much but he's let his play do the talking since he joined the Cardinals." -- Josh Weinfuss, Arizona Cardinals reporter, on left guard Mike Iupati, a 49ers first-round pick in 2010, No. 17 overall, who signed a five-year, $40 million free-agent deal with $22.5 million guaranteed with the Cardinals.
"He's treated being in San Diego as a fresh start, quickly picking up the offense and developing a good rapport with quarterback Philip Rivers. The Chargers like [Stevie] Johnson's versatility, with the ability to play slot receiver or on the perimeter. At 6-2 and 207 pounds, Johnson has a similar body type and skill set as Keenan Allen, so the two can be used interchangeably. With the addition of Johnson, San Diego's top six receiver targets are at least 6-2, so the California native provides another big target with a wide catch radius for Rivers." -- Eric Williams, San Diego Chargers reporter, on receiver Stevie Johnson, who was released by the 49ers in a cost-cutting move before he signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with the Chargers.