But that deal was on hold until Gaither passed the Raiders physical. Last year, he suffered from lingering back and foot injuries that cost him the entire 2010 season. So after several reports claiming Gaither had agreed to terms with the Raiders, then not, the Chiefs did their due diligence and made the signing official.
However, his path to the Chiefs was anything but smooth. After failing to make grades at the University of Maryland five years ago, he found his way to the Baltimore Ravens via the NFL's supplemental draft.
It was a good move by the Ravens who grabbed Gaither in the fifth round. In fact at the time, there were rumblings the Chiefs might have an interest but under Carl Peterson, he wasn't interested in a high risk guy for his roster.
Still there was no denying his talent. And as many suspected, Gaither's career quickly took off as he became the Ravens starting left tackle by the 2008 season.
But despite all that promise, his career has been marred with some disappointment. Although some of those feelings were due to injuries beyond his control. Still there are rumblings that Ravens officials lost faith in their starting tackles work ethic and commitment to football.
So now the man who has never played an an entire season healthy, is Chiefs property.
There is no question that Gaither has the potential to be a NFL Pro Bowl caliber tackle. But in the last two seasons, the Chiefs have groomed tackles Barry Richardson and Brandon Albert to anchor the offensive line for the next millennium. Although both still have room to grow, stunting that process to cater to a career underachieving like Gaither, might be risky. After all, many already assume that
Richardson could be demoted to back-up. And that would be a mistake and an injustice to Richardson, who has worked hard the last two years. On the flip side, the Chiefs don't have a back-up at either tackle position and Gaither, in that role initially, makes a lot of sense.
So what are the Chiefs plans for Gaither?
Albert has spent his entire professional career in Kansas City as the Chiefs starting left tackle. Though he played mostly guard at Virginia, he has done a solid job for this football team. But if the though is putting Gaither at left tackle and Albert at right, then the Chiefs don't have much time to get either men ready for the regular season.
However, if the Chiefs keep Albert at left tackle, that would last year starting right tackle in a position battle with Gaither. And that could wind up being a win-win situation for the Chiefs. Because with Gaither in the mix, that could speed up the maturation level of Richardson's game.
If Gaither shows up to training camp on Sunday with a new lease on his NFL life, this signing could do for the Chiefs what the Willie Roaf deal did last decade. But that's a big stretch to make at this point.
Richardson made enough strides a year ago to earn the starters role again in 2011. And in my view, he's barely scratched the surface of his abilities. Still with the addition of Gaither a sense of urgency to Richardson's development is not a bad scenario.
Regardless of how we over analyze the signing, the Chiefs are weak at tackle. Their primary depth at the moment consists of Bobby Greenwood and David Mims. And of those two, only Mims has a shot to get any playing time in Kansas City this season.
This signing at the very least alleviates some of those concerns.
For the short term, provided Gaithers is healthy and makes the Chiefs 53-man roster and contributes mightily to the Chiefs success this season, I'd be willing to entertain the idea of moving Albert to the right side.
But until Gaither can prove his worth, the Chiefs would be wise to go to war this season with Albert and Richardson as their starting tackles.
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