I’m not going to stop beating this drum until Gaither is traded from the Ravens somewhere.
Again, it’s no secret that the greatest amount of uncertainty for the Redskins team lies with the offensive line. The team enters mini-camps with two incumbent starters – Casey Rabach and Derrick Dockery – at the Center and Left Guard positions, their prized pick Trent “Silverback” Williams at Left Tackle, newly acquired journeyman Artis Hicks at Right Tackle, and a bunch of guys who are better known as “to be determined” at Right Guard.
You’ll have to pardon me if these guys don’t exactly inspire me to mention them in the same breath as the legendary Hogs, or even their poor-man’s predecessors in the Dirtbags.
If the Redskins actually want to remain competitive in the black and blue NFC East, that line isn’t going to cut it. Add in the fact that there is a Pro Bowl-caliber offensive lineman that is being actively shopped – Jared Gaither – and the time is now for the Redskins to make a move.
The Redskins, like other teams, have likely passed on Jared Gaither because rumors of a suspect work ethic. Fine, that’s a valid concern, considering playing in the NFL is a job, and the last thing you want to do is pay millions of dollars in salary to a guy whose primary concern is whether he’s feeling a triple whopper or KFC Double down for dinner tonight (I’m not saying that’s Gaither; I believe Jamarcus Russell really does actually have that debate, though).
But the Redskins can’t have it both ways by poo-poo’ing Gaither, and then going ahead and drafting a guy with a publicly-known aversion to the weight room. Silverback’s college strength coach even admitted that Williams could be a dominant offensive lineman, if he’d bother to get his big butt in the gym. Apparently, Shanahan and Allen know something that everyone else doesn’t.
Gaither is still on the trading block. He didn’t get traded on draft day, to everyone’s surprise but mine, as GM’s were too busy playing chicken with Ozzie Newsome, seeing who would blink first and get the better end of a deal. Only in the end, nobody won. The tackle-needy teams are still needy at tackle, and Gaither is still the Ravens’ “problem,” to use the term loosely.
It’s not like Gaither is some malcontent who is publicly bitching and moaning for a change of scenery. He’s a player with enormous untapped potential whom the Ravens simply can’t afford right now, as they’re already paying left tackle to their Right Tackle, Michael Oher, who should be flipping sides very soon.
So the question is: what’s the downside of trading next year’s 2nd round pick for a proven commodity like Gaither?
Think about it: acquiring Gaither would give us a line, from left to right, of Silverback Williams, Dockery, Rabach, Artis Hicks (who can be moved in to guard), and Gaither. We’d still have Stephon Heyer, Mike Williams, Chad Rhinehart on the bench as reserves, and probably at least one of the drafted linemen (Erik Cook and Selvish Capers) on the practice squad. That’s not a bad line to go to war with for the next year or two, even though Rabach’s days as an effective starter are numbered. Silverback and Gaither could be your bookend tackles for the next decade, although you might have to keep Jillian Michaels on staff to make sure they both get their butt onto a treadmill or into the weight room.
If the Redskins want to keep Donovan McNabb, a guy in his 30’s, upright, the current cast at offensive line won’t cut it.