Upon the beginning of this year’s free agency period, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle, Jared Gaither was regarded as one of the best tackles in the class.
However, when the NFL Players Union and owners failed to agree to a collective bargaining agreement, Gaither was suddenly a restricted free agent, and was tendered at a first round level, meaning that any team that wanted to sign Gaither, would have to surrender a first round draft pick to the Ravens.
Now, the deadline for restricted free agents to sign an offer season is drawing to a close, and the Ravens are now lowering their asking price, stating that, “a high second round choice would get you in the door.”
For the Buffalo Bills, the offensive line is in dire need of experience and talent. With no proven left tackle on the roster other than former seventh round pick Demetrius Bell, and Jamon Meredith, a 2009 signee from the Green Bay Packers practice squad. Meredith played well considering the circumstances, but I don’t think he is ready to protect the Buffalo Bills quarterback’s blind side.
Gaither is only 24, and has already started 28 NFL games after three seasons, and was a fundamental piece to the Baltimore Ravens offensive line that allowed young Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and Willis McGahee to prosper.
With last year’s first round selection, Michael Oher, looking to take over the left tackle, Gaither is now expendable for a reasonable price.
The Bills have the ninth pick in the second round this year, and dealing the pick for Gaither could allow Buffalo more flexibility come draft day, where they are expected to take a left tackle with their No. 9 pick in the first round.
The Bills would be getting a proven talent with experience for a second round price, over a risky selection in the draft. If Buffalo does decide to trade their second round selection, they would still have to sign Gaither to an offer sheet for his services in Buffalo.
If the Bills are really looking to improve their team, Jared Gaither is the best option, and would solidify the struggling offensive line with a 6′9″ 340 pound mammoth.