But wait, you may be thinking, didn't the Ravens just draft a left tackle in the 2009 NFL Draft, for whom a movie, The Blind Side, was named after. Shouldn't Michael Oher be protecting Joe Flacco's "Blind Side".
Well, that must be the Ravens thought process as well. After the end of the 2009 season, Gaither, who is a restricted free agent, was given just a first round tender by the club. You may be thinking, ok, a first round tender is pretty high right? Not really, considering some of the premier offensive linemen who are also restricted free agents, like Marcus McNeil of the Chargers and Jhari Evans of the Saints, both recieved the highest possible tender of a first and third. Now the first and third is a pretty hard offer to match for an opposing team wishing to sign away a premier left tackle. Even a first round pick in todays NFL is a lot to give up, and thats why I believe we haven't seen much activity involving restricted free agents thus far into the 2010 signing period.
Recently, rumors have surfaced that the Ravens are open to trading Gaither for less than the first round tender they have attached to him. NFL sources are saying that Oher may be the future at left tackle, and that the Ravens may be willing to part with Gaither via trade for a high second round draft pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Enter the Redskins. 1. we have a desperate need for a left tackle. 2. we have a high second round draft pick. 3. we have the money to sign him to a big contract extension(something the Ravens are not willing to do). 4. we are near his home town. Does this make too much sense?
If Shanny is truely set on getting his own quarterback in the draft, he will certainly need a better line to protect him. A second round left tackle is a strong possibility, but we risk the scenerio that the pickings could be very slim by the time the 37th pick rolls around. We probably don't have the ammo to move back into the late 1st round to try and get a left tackle, so the Gaither moves makes even more sense.
There are a few different scenerios that could come into play here. We could make a deal before the draft, and go into the first round with our left tackle already in place. If Bradford falls to us at #4, we already have someone in place to protect his "Blind Side". If Bradford gets picked before our spot, we could opt for Okung or Trent Williams, and move either Gaither, or the new rookie to the right side. We could also go for the(cough, cough) Clausen option at #4. Again, we at least have a strong left tackle in the fold already. Finally, we could opt to go for the trade back approach, in hopes of gaining back that 2nd round pick, and maybe grab a right tackle(like Bruce Campbell, or Anthony Davis), or a dynamic game-changing running back like Clemson's C J Spiller later in the first, and go for a quarterback prospect in the second with the additional pick we would have gotten.
Finally, this could be a draft day trade. If we do end up selecting a quarterback at #4, we have a lot of time between the 1st and 2nd rounds this year to put together a game plan. If the staff feels that Gaither is a better long-term option than any of the 2nd round tackle prospects left, they could decide to make the deal.
Either way, this could only help our football team by being able to add a player of this calibur for a second round pick. The Eagles are a great example of how this could work, when they traded with the Bills last year to get left tackle Jason Peters. They immediatly plugged him in on McNabb's 'Blind Side", and he went on to a pro bowl season. They also moved Winston Justice to right tackle, a position he is much better suited to play, and he had by all accounts, a very good season. The Redskins could make Stephon Heyer their right tackle, and eventhough he played poorly last season, (sometimes lining up on the left, and sometimes on the right), hope for the same improvement that the Eagles saw in Justice.
Loosing Chris Samuels hurts. Adding Jared Gaither could help ease the pain. It it a chance the staff is willing to take?