5 Reasons Jared Gaither Won't Be With the Baltimore Ravens in 2011

Paul StaggContributor IIFebruary 13, 2011

5 Reasons Jared Gaither Won't Be With the Baltimore Ravens in 2011

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    BALTIMORE - 2009:  Jared Gaither of the Baltimore Ravens poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by NFL Photos)
    NFL Photos/Getty Images

    Let me make one thing very clear:  I think Jared Gaither is an incredible athlete, and is a very, very good football player.

    If I ran the Ravens, he would probably be on my team.

    But I don't run the Ravens, and the people who do probably know more about football than I do.

    While there is lots of uncertainty about the 2011 NFL season, there is one thing I think is certain:  Jared Gaither won't be a Raven.

Michael Oher

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    BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 05:  Michael Oher #74 of the Baltimore Ravens blocks against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    Jared Gaither wants to play left tackle.  It's his natural position, and he has (or had) the size and athleticism for the position. 

    But, perhaps you've heard of Michael Oher. Oher also has the talent to play either right or left tackle.  While he had a rough year last year, he's still developing, and I think the Ravens are committed to making Oher the long term left tackle on this team.

    Finding another right tackle in the draft or free agency would be far easier than trying to convince Gaither to move, and may be the right call against moving Oher back to the right side.

Gaither Is Injury Prone

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    FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 04:  Jared Gaither #71 of the Baltimore Ravens is taken off the field by a stretcher in the first half against the New England Patriots on October 4, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Gaither missed 5 games in 2009 and all of 2010.  He's suffered head, foot, and back injuries in just a short four years in the league.

    His most recent back problems appear to have been resolved, but he is yet to be cleared by the Ravens to play.

    Couple the injury issues with the debate between Gaither and the Ravens on the severity of the injuries, as well as the clear communication issues on the injuries between the two sides, and I think the Ravens may decide Gaither no longer has the value to the team he once did.

Work Ethic

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 7:  Jared Gaither #71 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on from the side line as steam comes off of his face in the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 7, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jona
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Far be it for me to comment on an NFL player's work ethic.  I've never seen Jared Gaither practice, and I have no idea how hard he works.

    But I do know his work ethic has come in to question, both in college and with the Ravens. 

    He entered the 2007 supplemental draft because his academic problems were leading to his ineligibility to play for the Terps. 

    Rumors have swirled that he doesn't work as hard as he needs.

    That's not going to fly on a Harbaugh coached Ravens squad.

Weight Loss

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 4:  Tackle Jared Gaither #71 of the Baltimore Ravens  sets to block against the Miami Dolphins in an NFL Wildcard Playoff Game at Dolphins Stadium on January 4, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Jared Gaither came in to camp last year at around 310 pounds, 30 pounds off his playing weight of 340 in 2009.  To make things worse, he lost all the weight without consulting with the Ravens.  I've not seen any clear explanation of the weight loss.

    While he may have gained most of that weight back, at 6'9", he probably needs to be even bigger to play effectively.

    He hasn't trained at the Ravens facility, instead choosing to work with his own trainer.  If he's really committed to making things work with the Ravens, he should be working closely with the team to make sure he meets their needs, and where they differ with his opinion, they need to communicate clearly to stay on the same page.

    I'm not sure that's happening.

Money

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    OWINGS MILLS, MD - JUNE 12:   Ozzie Newsome, Baltimore Ravens general manager during Jonathan Ogden retirement press conference at Ravens training facility on June 12, 2008 in Owings Mills, Maryland.   (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Jared Gaither clearly was upset about the tender offer last year.  He'll either be a Free Agent or Restricted Free Agent this year, and he's going to demand left tackle money.

    The labor deal may still be uncertain, but there will always be a salary cap, and there will always be financial considerations.

    Given the other free agents the Ravens will want to keep (Haloti Ngata being the biggest and most expensive), there may just not be enough money to keep Gaither happy and willing to work hard.  The Ravens may think they can get a solid right tackle for much less money.

    As much as I or the Ravens front office might like Jared Gaither, the NFL is still a business, and Gaither may command a price too rich for the Ravens to pay.