The Miami Dolphins have been eyeing the Philadelphia Eagles‘ coaches and personnel since firing former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and former GM Jeff Ireland earlier in the month. Today, the Dolphins secured one of their targets when they hired Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor to be their new offensive coordinator.
In addition to Lazor, the Dolphins formally requested an interview with Tom Gamble, the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel, in hopes that he would fill their vacant GM position. Gamble joined the Eagles a year ago after working in the San Francisco 49ers‘ front office.
His scientific and analytical approach to scouting and player evaluation has been cited as a key reason for Philadelphia’s quick turnaround this season. Gamble’s data-driven valuation techniques have become a popular attribute in front office candidates as NFL franchises race to adopt advanced metrics.
Gamble may have been intrigued by the Dolphins GM job as the team features a solid defensive unit and an ascendant young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. But according to multiple reports, Gamble declined Miami’s interview request and is content with his current position with the Eagles.
The reported reasons for his rebuff of the Dolphins vary from one media outlet to another. One report eluded to concerns he harbors about the franchise’s stability and power structure. Another report surmises that he would prefer to play an integral role in the Eagles making a deep playoff run next season. Yet another believes that the move was precisely calculated to raise his profile and position him for a GM job in 2015, when he can demand more power and authority.
These reports are wrong. Gamble’s has declined recent GM overtures because the health of his father, Harry Gamble, has deteriorated. NFL insiders with knowledge of the situation recently wrote the following:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2014
— Jason Cole (@JasonPhilCole) January 15, 2014
Gamble’s priorities are clearly family-oriented. Rather than fly to Miami, he has stayed in Philadelphia close to his father. Moving away from him at this juncture is not an option.
At 49, would still be considered young by NFL GM standards, so he is well-positioned to move into a GM role that inspires him in the years ahead. However, because his upward mobility with the Eagles is blocked by Howie Roseman, the youngest general manager in the NFL, Gamble does not have a long-term future with Philadelphia.
In fact, with a former colleague in Lazor already a part of the Dolphins organization, Miami could implement an interim front office solution in the short term and revisit their pursuit Gamble at a more appropriate time given his family obligations.