49ers Tom Gamble a Possible Favorite to Replace Gene Smith

Joe Robbins

As the almost certain firing of Jaguars GM Gene Smith looms on the horizon, the first name linked as a potential replacement has surfaced.

As the Jaguars get ready to play out the remaining two weeks of a historically terrible 2012 season, there is almost no doubt now among those "in the know" on all things NFL, that general manager Gene Smith will be relieved of his duties come the first of the year, if not sooner.

With Smith's fate a near certainty at this point, we are now already starting to hear rumors of possible replacements.

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, in an article today about upcoming front office turnover in the league, reports sources have informed him that San Francisco 49ers Dir. of Player Personnel Tom Gamble, has been highly recommended to the Khans as a candidate for the Jaguars soon-to-be vacant GM spot.

From the article...

Jacksonville is virtually certain to make a change, with general manager Gene Smith a holdover from the prior ownership regime, former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert not worthy of playing ahead of Chad Henne and the team flirting with the first-overall pick. I would expect the beefed-up front office to include some new-school execs, steeped in statistical analytics and Moneyball thinking -- owner Shahid Khan's son, Tony, is a big proponent of that movement in this sport. But they're going to need some old-school evaluators as well, and sources said San Francisco's director of player personnel has been recommended highly to them. Tom Gamble was in the mix for Oakland's opening last year and has experience working for forward-thinking bosses, in the 49ers CEO, Paraag Marathe.

Gamble's name is one that is certain to gain steam as the weeks go on and the job likely officially becomes available. He's had successful stints in helping both the Colts and 49ers build up winning organizations, and has played a pivotal role in the quick revitalization of the 49ers, from a team picking consistently in the top of the draft to one of the dominant teams in the entire league, within a couple of seasons time.

Whether or not Gamble to Jacksonville comes to fruition is all speculation at this point, especially since the job isn't technically open yet. It's also believed that 49ers CEO Jed York and GM Trent Baalke covet Gamble, and will do their best to try and match any offer he receives from other teams.

That said, if this is the caliber of GM the Khans will be focusing on, then the future of the franchise could begin to make a drastic change.

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