Dolphins’ interest in Gamble as GM really another play for Jim Harbaugh –

Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2014

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is very intrigued by the idea of hiring Eagles personnel exec Tom Gamble for his GM position, according to league sources, and it remains to be seen if that’s a job Gamble would be interested in, as there are concerns around the league as to how the Dolphins front office will be structured, how much power the new GM will truly hold, and who he would report to.

But there is no mystery as to why Ross is enamored with Gamble, and what the possible end game could be. When Tony Sparano was coaching the Dolphins, Ross made a strong bid to land Jim Harbaugh as head coach (Harbaugh was at Stanford at the time), and through that process, Harbaugh spoke very highly of Gamble, who was a personnel exec with the 49ers. Had Harbaugh taken the Dolphins job, there is a good chance Gamble would have been his GM.

Now, Harbaugh is mired in a power struggle with GM Trent Baalke, and it remains to be seen if Harbaugh will get a massive contract extension — and more control of the roster — or if he will coach out his contract and become a free agent. Ross, a huge Michigan booster, remains enthralled by Harbaugh (a former star quarterback at Michigan) and landing Gamble would have him positioned to make another run at Harbaugh.

His current coach, Joe Philbin, is very much in year-to-year mode. Landing Gamble would help Ross accomplish what he wanted to back in 2011 — land Harbaugh. Remember, he was wooing Harbaugh with Sparano still on the job, and eventually rewarded Sparano with an extension after the embarrassing sequence of events (only to fire him a year later, strike out on Jeff Fisher, and end up with Philbin).

Gamble has a very strong personnel background, and while there are some family reasons for staying in the Philadelphia area, where he has roots, if the Dolphins job is a true GM position, there would be plenty of appeal as well. Eagles coach Chip Kelly wanted Gamble to boost the team’s personnel evaluations, and the ability to bring in an experienced personnel man was a big part of why Philadelphia was finally able to lure him from Oregon, so he would not want to lose Gamble.

But if the job includes final say of the roster, then the Eagles would not be able to block Gamble from interviewing for or taking it.


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