It looks as if Jared Gaither is set to become an Oakland Raider. He has reportedly checked into the Napa Marriott and could be attending this afternoon’s practice. The Raiders are expected to announce the signing at 3:00pm when it can be made official.
As of 2:20, Gaither’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said that his client and the Raiders have not agreed to contract terms. But he also knows the Raiders don’t like when the lid is blown off of their intentions before they can make it official. We will have more details when they are announced as well as the contracts details once they are complete.
The 6-9, 350 pound Gaither is expected to come in and compete for the job as the Raiders’ starting left tackle immediately. Last year’s starter, Jared Veldheer, will most likely be switching positions. That position switch could be right tackle or left guard. Both positions are open at this moment.
Gaither was a key free agent target for the Raiders but as of yesterday, it appeared the two sides were struggling to come to terms. Gaither had a serious back injury that had him out the entire 2010 season. The Ravens moved on from him at left tackle and Gaither was not too keen on the idea of switching to right tackle. He came up for free agency and the Ravens let him walk.
He is seen as a potential star at left tackle. He was an everyday starter for his first three seasons in the NFL before the back injury sidelined him. The Raiders clearly see him as the answer to one of their issues along the offensive line.
There are still questions to answer at guard or perhaps right tackle (depending on where Veldheer plays) but this signing definitely strengthens the line overall.
It becomes the first, and perhaps the only, big free agent signing by the Raiders. The financial commitments could eliminate any chance the Raiders have of bringing back Asomugha. Of course, most were not giving that much of a chance anyway. Other free agents rumors have included former 49er safety Dashon Goldson and former Jet corner Antonio Cromartie.