Chiefs FA Target: Jared Gaithers

In 2010, the Kansas City Chiefs starting tackles consisted of Barry Richardson and Brandon Albert. Both performed well last season but both could benefit from some Todd Haley style competition.

It's fascinating how many ‘Insiders' around the NFL believe that that Chiefs top priority in free agency center on their offensive line. Typically when a team finishes a season with 2600 yards rushing; it's a good indication the big boys up front are doing the job.

But that's not the case as the Chiefs continue to look for help at tackle and possibly at guard. And one name the Chiefs had interest in the past from the 2007 Supplemental Draft, is Baltimore Ravens right tackle Jared Gaither.

However, Gaither hasn't ever become a consistent performer in Baltimore. At 6'9" Gaither is one of the tallest tackles in the NFL and has been showered with promise since he jumped from college to the pro ranks.

But maybe the detour he took by being declared academically eligible at Maryland, had something to do with his inconsistancy. But when a player has his size, brute strength and athleticism, you have to scratch your head a bit.

In 2010 a back injury and foot injury, derailed Gaither's season. Although the talents of Gaither have never been in question, it appears his motivation and intelligence has led Ravens General Manager, Ozzie Newsome, to debate letting him walk into free agency this week. And that decision, could push him closer to Kansas City.

In Kansas City, the team has to be pleased with the progression of Left Tackle Branden Albert. But some argue long term he may be a better fit at right tackle. Last season Barry Richardson emerged from the shadows to become a solid right tackle for the Chiefs. Like Gaithers he has the size but he's still raw in many areas.

Still if this offensive line is going to mature into a dominating force in the passing game, Albert seems ready for the challenge but the same may not be said for Richardson.

Still Richardson has a feisty nature that last summer saw him nearly rip off the head of his defensive teammate, Demorrio Williams after a heated exchange at training camp. And it's not a stretch to assume, Richardson has the potential to dominate in the NFL.

But Richardson's punch in week 13 on the sidelines a year ago, nearly decapitated Chiefs special teams coach Steve Hoffman. So to combat that nature and to possibly bring out even greater potential, having a potential starter like Gaither nipping at his heels may be just what Richardson needs to keep his emotions in check.
BR>And who knows?

Maybe Gaither finally becomes the dominant player many always suspected and Richardson becomes the Chiefs top backup. Richardson has proven he can play both sides of the line and would be would be a fantastic sub. And at the moment, he's also the teams best option as Albert's back-up.

No matter what direction the Chiefs go in free agency this week, there isn't any question they need to address depth at both tackle positions.

So will Gaither be that guy? It might just come down to how healthy he is at the moment and how he was able to rehab his injuries during the lengthy lockout.

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Will previous injuries to Gaithers turn the Chiefs off from adding him to the 2011 roster?

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