According to NFL insider Adam Schefter, the San Diego Chargers released left tackle Jared Gaither today. The Kansas City Chiefs placed Gaither on waivers in 2011 and former general manager A.J. Smith claimed him. San Diego’s offensive line allowed 28 sacks before adding Gaither, and allowed two in five games with him.
San Diego re-signed Gaither to a four year deal worth $24.6 million last year which was a risk because he missed five games in 2009 and missed the entire 2010 season with an injury. Gaither was set to make $6 million in 2013 if San Diego kept him which makes his cap hit one of the highest on San Diego’s roster.
Gaither missed 12 games last season and his will to play was questioned by teammates. San Diego’s offensive line was terrible in 2012 because they allowed 49 sacks in 2012 which ranked fourth in the NFL.
Smith signed former left tackle Marcus McNeill to a six year deal worth $48.9 million in 2010. McNeill missed seven games in 2011 with an injury and San Diego’s front office released him last year. This is an example of history repeating itself for San Diego at the left tackle position.
San Diego’s front office is expected to choose an offensive lineman with the 11th pick in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft. If former Oklahoma Sooners left tackle Lane Johnson is still available, he will be the replacement for Gaither. Former North Carolina Tar Heels guard Jonathan Cooper is also a possibility.
I expected San Diego’s front office to release Gaither sooner than today because he is injury prone, but perhaps it was a difficult decision because Gaither was productive when he was healthy.
Chargers GM Tom Telesco had said “I want to talk to him. I can’t make any decisions based on what people have told me. It’s a new regime. I’ve got to get to know everybody. I’ll take opinions from everybody. In the end, it’s our decisions. Will he be back for training camp? I don’t know. I’ve barely talked to him. We have a lot of work to do.”
According to Michael Gehlken of utsandiego.com, the new GM made these statements last month which tells fans that Gaither was unable to make a positive impression on Telesco.