INDIANAPOLIS — When the offseason started, it seemed likely that Tom Gamble would leave the 49ers and go to another team to become a general manager.
But that didn’t happen, and instead, he landed with the Eagles as vice president of player personnel. When the move was announced, an obvious question was: Why would the 49ers allow Gamble to make what appeared to be a lateral move?
“There’s a lot that went into that decision,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke Thursday morning at the Combine. “Tom and I have been friends for a long time and have worked together for an awful long time. It was a chance for him to get home.”
Often times, such front-office moves aren’t made until after the draft. But Baalke and the Niners allowed Gamble to walk a few weeks before the free-agency period began (March 12).
“It certainly is a difficult time to lose somebody, especially of Tom’s caliber,” Baalke said. “But at the same time, sometimes in life you’ve got to make those decisions and you’ve got to let people go home. It was something that him and I had talked about for over a year. It had came up again. So through those discussions, we were able to allow that to happen. Tough timing? Obviously. But I think that both sides feel good that the decision was made.”
In Gamble, Howie Roseman gets someone with a proven track record to replace Ryan Grigson.
“You miss an awfully loyal, awfully qualified individual that helps you set your board, helps you through free agency and the like,” Baalke said.
ALEX SMITH ON THE MARKET
One other note from Baalke: He pretty much confirmed what many assumed – that Alex Smith is on the trading block.
“I think that’s part of it,” Baalke said, when asked if he talked to Smith about being traded. “We’re going to look at all options available. Are we going to trade him for sure? No, that hasn’t been decided.”
Smith’s availability could of course affect the potential market for Nick Foles, a topic we discussed earlier today.