The San Diego Chargers picked up left tackle Jared Gaither off waivers on November 30, 2011 a day after the Kansas City Chiefs waived him. Gaither was a fifth-round pick in the 2007 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was sacked 28 times in 11 games prior to the team claiming Gaither off waivers, but was sacked just two times in the last five games of the 2011 season. Rivers also threw 16 touchdowns and 17 interceptions before San Diego got Gaither while he threw 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions in the last five games.
On March 14, 2012, Gaither signed a four year deal with the Chargers worth $24.6 million. Gaither’s average salary of $6.15 million per season ranks fifth among all Chargers and his $3 million cap hit for 2012 ranks ninth on the team. Gaither participated in one off-season practice this year, left with cramps and has not practiced since then. Gaither has not been on the field to watch practice as well since his injury and this could be a major problem for the Lightning Bolts.
Gaither missed five games during the 2009 season and missed all 16 games during the 2010 season with an injury. San Diego has had offensive line problems with injuries. Marcus McNeill signed a six year deal worth $48.9 million in 2010. McNeill was a two time Pro Bowl left tackle in 2006 and 2007, but after going through a hold out because of his contract in 2010, McNeill missed seven games last season and was released on March 13, 2012. Kris Dielman was a four time Pro Bowl left guard and a two time All-Pro. Dielman missed 10 games last year due to battling a concussion and suffering a seizure on the team plane after a game against the New York Jets. Hopefully Gaither’s injury will not be a problem for him or the team.