Oct 7, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (41) returns an interception for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers: Farewell Chris Gamble

The Panthers have parted ways with long time corner back and the franchise’s 2004 first round pick, Chris Gamble. Gamble, the franchise all time leader in interceptions, was drafted #28 overall in 2004 out of Ohio State University. The former Buckeye would have counted $10.9 million against the $123 million(or so) salary cap this year. When you consider the amount of time Gamble has spent on the sideline in the past 2 seasons it is clear, that number ($10.9 million), is much too high. Therefore the team did the right thing and released him.

Dec 4, 2011; Tampa FL, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble (20) in the first half of their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Panthers won 38-19. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

By making this move the Panthers managed to get themselves under the salary cap. We can see the effectiveness of Gettleman here in the most recent moves  by the Panthers. He has managed to restructure the contracts of several Panthers in order to help the team get closer to the cap number. Gamble’s release does clear $7.9 million in cap room and pulls the Panthers below the leagues maximum team salary amount. Coach Ron Rivera had this to say about Gamble: “I appreciate the contributions of Chris during my first two years as head coach and to the organization for many years, he always handled things the right way and we wish him the best.” Funny because Gamble missed more games during Rivera’s first 2 years than he played in.

 Now the move does not create enough cap room for the Panthers to be a player in the free agent market, at least not in regards to the top tier free agents. As much as the acquisition of wide receiver Mike Wallace would complete the offense of  this franchise, we are not even close to having the sort of money Wallace will command. For that matter the impact other top tier free agents like Jake Long or even a mid level free agent like Chris Canty are out of the Panthers price range. Former GM Marty Hurney left this franchise in very bad shape financially speaking. Thankfully many of the teams top players have been willing to restructure their deals in the best interest of the team. I would say this indicates a “BIG TEAM, little me” attitude that looks to be pervasive throughout this Panthers organization.
The Panthers will make use of the 3 young corners on currently under contract. Josh Thomas, Josh Norman, and James Dockery will vie for the starting positions. All three saw significant playing time over the course of the 2012 season and frankly, all three at one point or another showed some promise. The draft is fairly deep at defensive back this year and perhaps the Panthers will look to make an addition through the draft.It’s unfortunate but Captain Munnerlyn has probably played his last down as a Panther. It is really a shame too, Munnerlyn has progressed into a very good nickel corner and will be a great addition to some other team, unless of course Munnerlyn is willing to give the Panthers a hometown discount. Maybe this “BIG TEAM, little me” attitude will be enough to keep Captain a Panther, but I think it to be unlikely.
I hate to see long time Panthers like Gamble depart but it is the nature of sports. Eventually players lose their value to teams and the teams are forced to make tough decisions for the betterment of the franchise. I would like to thank Gamble for his contributions to the team and I wish him the best in his future en devours.
GOD bless!
Follow me on Twitter @JoeRiollano

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