Raiders in play for Ravens OT Gaither

Baltimore Ravens v Miami Dolphins

The Ravens are shopping their starting offensive tackle Jared Gaither these days and have reportedly lowered their asking price. This according to Jason La Canfora of NFL.com. And the Raiders are a possible trade partner.

The Ravens slapped a first round tender on the restrictred free agent but are now taking offers for a high second round pick. The Raiders have a high second round pick to offer (39 overall) so it becomes a situation where extreme need and ideal compensation meet. There is also the coaching connection with Hue Jackson having come over from the Ravens as the Raiders new offensive coordinator. He could be the connecting fibers that allows this deal to get done.

It is no secret that the Raiders are desperate for a solid right tackle.Cornell Green was not doing the job and has since been allowed to leave(some say he was put out to pasture to assault Buffalo with a mop handle). Khalif Barnes showed last season that he is not the answer to replace him. Gaither would be a huge upgrade over either of them.

ESPN has also reported on the Raiders’ possible interest in acquiring Gaither. Here is what KC Joyner had to say about Gaither of whom he has listed as one of his top three free agents to bid on:

“Gaither has been a starter for the past two seasons and in that time his metrics have been nothing short of superb. He has allowed only seven total sacks in 27 games and only one of these was a one-on-one sack (defined as when a defender beats a blocker in a one-on-one environment and tackles the quarterback in the pocket within three seconds of the snap). That illustrates Gaither’s dominant pass blocking skills, but his run blocking numbers are also quite notable. Gaither was at the Point of Attack (POA) on 300 running plays the past two years and he won his block 255 times, or 85 percent of the time. That is a solid number on its own, but his 2009 POA win rate of 89.0 percent is even more noteworthy. To put that total into perspective, consider that in a typical NFL season, a little less than one out of ten offensive linemen will crack the 90 percent POA win mark. Gaither was on the precipice of that mark last year despite battling injuries.”

On top of Gaither’s superb measurables and statistics, the Ravens offensive line was one of the most overpowering in all of football last season. That was in large part due to the stunts they run that would confuse and dominate defensive lines and oncoming rushers. His experience running such a comlex system in Baltimore would translate perfectly to the Raiders and their zone blocking scheme. The Raiders saw that Ravens line first hand in the final game of last season. A game in which the Ravens line was constantly opening up gaping holes allowing their backs to run all over the Raiders. They completely dominated play at the line of scrimmage as they had much of the season. And even with the dominating play in the trenches, the Raiders were able to stay in that game to lose by just one score. Having Gaither on the Raiders’ side might just be enough to turn those tables. That seems worth a 2nd round pick.

As you probably know, there has been a lot of talk about what the Raiders might do with that 2nd round pick in this month’s draft. The biggest rumor has surrounded the acquistion of Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb. A deal which has included countless scenarios but usually centers around the Raiders pick at 39.

If the McNabb deal did happen and the compensation was the 39 pick, they would not be in play for Gaither… unless they traded down in the first and used that pick to acquire him. Another scenario that has been bandied about is the Raiders switching first rounders with the Eagles in a deal for McNabb. That would allow the Raiders to keep their high second rounder which they could then send to Baltimore for Gaither.

I don’t usually dabble in long shot scenarios but these are examples how the Raiders could conceivably get both the star quarterback as well as Gaither while possibly trading away just one total draft pick in the process. And based upon the last three first rounders, getting McNabb and/or Gaither may just be worth it even if it costs both picks. So losing just one pick while getting one and possibly two proven players would certainly be a huge deal.

About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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