Carolina Panthers Release CB Chris Gamble

Ethan GrantAnalyst IMarch 8, 2013

In a move that will allow the Carolina Panthers to get under the salary cap, the team announced on Friday afternoon that it has released cornerback Chris Gamble.

The team's official Twitter account confirmed the news:

The nine-year veteran and former 2004 first-round draft pick has spent his entire career with the Panthers but will now enter the open market of free agency looking for a new suitor.

As reported by Brian McIntyre on Twitter, the move saves the Panthers an inordinate amount of money in the race to gain cap space prior to March 12's start of NFL free agency:

Coming out of Ohio State following the 2003 season, Gamble was projected as one of the top corners in his draft class. He lived up to that hype in Carolina, starting all but six of his 123 career games while compiling 27 career interceptions over the course of his Panthers career.

He also has two interception returns for a touchdown and over 500 tackles to boast on his NFL resume.

Gamble dealt with an injury that limited him to just four games in 2012. However, as noted by Pro Football Focus on Twitter, the results of his 2011 campaign will force teams in need of a CB (such as San Francisco, New England and Tampa Bay) to take a hard look at what he might bring to the table.

Although he's dropped off some since signing a six-year, $53 million contract in 2008, Gamble was still a steady producer when on the field for the Panthers. He ranks first in franchise history in both interceptions and passes defensed and has undoubtedly left his mark in the team's all-time history books.

However, he will now enter a crowded CB market in free agency. Sam Shields, Aqib Talib and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are all expected to draw big interest from teams in need of secondary help, making Gamble's task of finding a new NFL job all the more difficult. 

In any event, his body of work speaks for itself. Gamble and Panthers will part ways on Friday, but don't expect him to be a free agent for long after March 12's opening horn signals the start of this year's NFL player shuffle.