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Monday, February 11, 2013

Gambling On Gamble

In his last few years, Chris Gamble hasn't been true to his name.
He's not fighting for the risky INT, but he'd been doing a fantastic job
of showing a receiver to be covered (enough to have a very low QB
rating, due to a low amount of targets). He's not the boom or bust guy
that was drafted in 2004. Consequently, he doesn't make a ton of big
plays (compare that to the 2 pick-sixes that Captain Munnerlyn had, and
the one Charles Godfrey had against Drew Brees), but don't let that
convince you that Gamble isn't valuable.

Amidst one of the poorer defenses in 2011, Gamble was rated as the 6th
best corner by profootballfocus.com for QB rating; this year, before
getting hurt, he was top in the league for yards per route run at .45.
He was holding his man in check. they had him rated very high in 2010,
a season interrupted by small injury and a very public benching for
private words.

So there are a few ups and downs there. But I'm not ready to give up
on him.

I might be the only one, though. Check with the Observer, and they
have him as a must-cut. They cite him coming up on 30, and his high cap
hit. It's interesting to note that Jordan Gross' age isn't brought up
(he'll be 33 coming into the year), and that Gross would save more ($8.7
million, versus $7.9 million) but he's universally accepted as staying
(while Gamble is just assumed as gone).

The end result is that both players have a lot of value. Both are
valuable. I don't find OL to be more valuable than CB - only thing I'd
really say is that DBs coach Steve Wilks did more with less than OL
coach John Matsko. But to find equivalent players for either guy would
be difficult. So I'd easily look to add years to either guy's contract
(neither have more than two years left) to free up space.

I don't know that Dave Gettleman will see it the same way. Who knows-
maybe he does see Gamble as the magic bullet that saves most of the
remaining cap space (that $7.9 mil is about 68% of what's needed to get
to the cap, though the team will need about double that to add in draft
picks). But, in my opinion, it shouldn't be an easy choice.

That equivalent cost of replacement could come with a draft pick, sure.
But if the team drops $8 mil to get under the cap for Gamble, and then
drafts a 1st round CB, have they improved? They'd still have one good
corner, but the equivalent is the loss of the top asset to improve (the
pick) in exchange for minimal talent gain if any, and a little youth
(Gamble's 30 years really isn't that old).

So, given the choice, I'd extend both, hoping for some level of smaller
contract than the $9 million deals that Gamble and Gross signed in 2008.
Steve Smith took less this time, hopefully they will as well, knowing
their value at this point in the game. It certainly looks like Gross
will get his chance at the table; I just hope Gamble gets his.
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