Tom Cable and Robert Gallery have a strong working relationship and word on the street is that the two would like to reunite in Seattle. Woo hoo, right? Maybe. Free agents are a mixed bag. Tim Ruskell had a habit of signing past their prime free agents to expensive contracts: Patrick Kerney, Julian Peterson, Joe Jurevicius, Nate Burleson, Deon Grant, Deion Branch, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Andre Dyson, Mike Wahle, Jamie Sharper. Most of those players were nearing or past thirty. Some had extensive injury histories. Most contributed but few contributed for more than a year or two. Many became hindrances before retiring, being cut or traded.
So what's the story with Gallery? Well he's thirty and turns 31 in July. So that's a black mark. Gallery missed time with a hamstring injury in 2010 and missed time with a broken fibula in 2009. Neither injury concerns me too terribly much, but he did miss time, the hamstring injury could recur, and so that should be factored into his contract. He cost between 2.6 and 6.8 million against the cap from 2004 to 2009. That's pricey and I would hope Seattle could sign him for less. Gallery is a guard, which might help his longevity, but though guards peak late and can maintain a high level of play into their mid-thirties, it's not guaranteed.
Gallery is quick, athletic and huge. Speed helps stave off decline and size defies decline. After busting as a left tackle, Cable moved him to left guard and revived his career. Gallery has been a guard since 2007, and in that time has developed a reputation as an under appreciated talent. The Raiders are underrepresented in my library of game tape. I have only three games from this season. If Seattle does sign Gallery, we can do a more thorough breakdown, but I wanted to give him a quick look and provide a quick and dirty scouting report. So I watched him work against Colin Cole, Kentwan Balmer and the Seattle Seahawks in week 11. That should be a pretty easy matchup and one we could expect Gallery to succeed against.
First thing I notice is Gallery is quick off the snap. That's pretty much essential. Despite his height, he keeps a good pad level. He had little trouble getting under and standing up Balmer, but also was able to win leverage against Craig Terrill and Cole. He doesn't, however, show a lot of power as a drive blocker. Both Terrill and Cole battled him to a standstill, and that's not flattering. He also seems to struggle some with his hand fighting, and I expect him to lose some blocks, allow some interior pressure and/or be forced to hold. But he's not a bad pass blocker and he doesn't get driven back. It's just not a standout ability. Gallery also seems to end up on the turf quite a bit. Not sure what that's about.
What makes Gallery interesting is his ability to block on the move. He moves very well and, more importantly, squares and strikes with authority when blocking in space. He does a good job of running to and intersecting his assignment, but he also does a good job looking for people to block and staying active. For lack of a better way to put it, Gallery is pretty nasty. He plays to the whistle, blindsides defenders, and displays the hustle, fire and aggression of a great run blocker. From a more nuts and bolts perspective, Gallery is prompt moving into the second level and doesn't lag like say Max Unger. He reach blocks and combo blocks well. And he doesn't lose many blocks once he's locked in on the second level.
Seattle needs talent at guard, and if it wants to improve its ability to run the ball and potentially wants to build its offense through running the ball, Gallery could contribute towards that cause. There's reason for reservation, too. He's at the brink of old, even for a guard. There's some injury history. He doesn't look like a superstar talent, and free agency tends to force teams to overspend. But as long as the contract is reasonable, signing Gallery could mean adding a quality player at a position of maximum need.