After spending his entire career with the Carolina Panthers, cornerback Chris Gamble will have to take his services elsewhere: the team cut Gamble Friday, opting to release him rather than deal with his $10.95 million cap hit.
This move was expected: reports that the team was looking to release Gamble have been around since last month. With the team $15 million over the salary cap, it's a move that they had to make, even in the eyes of Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader. Although they had good things to say about Gamble -- read posts from before last season entitled, "Chris Gamble is the most underrated player in the NFL" and "Chris Gamble is awesome" - author James Dator endorsed the move, writing about it as early as last month.
The veteran cornerback's salary was just too expensive and his future not important enough to the franchise to argue for retaining him. Now they must decide whether to retain restricted free agent Captain Munnerlyn at the other cornerback spot.
Gamble will be one of the best cornerbacks on the free agent market, although he won't merit the type of contract he had with the Panthers. He's now 29 and although he should still be effective when healthy, that wasn't the majority of the time last year, as Gamble missed all but four games with a shoulder injury.
Head coach Ron Rivera was complimentary of Gamble on his way out:
Ron Rivera: "I appreciate the contributions of Chris during my first two years as head coach and to the organization for many years."— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) March 8, 2013
Rivera: "He always handled things the right way and we wish him the best."— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) March 8, 2013