Jared Gaither could have been one of the top offensive tackles in the NFL… if he cared.
After his stellar five-game audition in 2011 with the San Diego Chargers, he cashed in on a four-year, $24.6 million deal to remain with the team. Unfortunately, he reverted back to “The Big Lazy” and played in just four games due to “injuries” that many believed weren’t as severe as he claimed they were. His toughness and commitment to the team were questioned, and his teammates were disgusted at his lack of effort.
Though his release doesn’t come to a surprise, the timing of it is quite odd. Clearly, the Chargers couldn’t rely on Gaither to start at one of football’s most important positions. The team could’ve released him two weeks ago when they sent their aging veterans packing, but for some reason chose to hang on to him until now.
General manager Tom Telesco must have been buying himself more time to gather information and opinions of Gaither within the organization. Telesco also wanted to meet with him face to face, but the two were only able to talk on the phone. If Gaither couldn’t find a way to travel to San Diego to talk about his job, clearly he wasn’t committed to keeping it.
Dollar for dollar, Gaither will go down as one of the biggest free agent busts of all time.
Gaither made $2.25 million per game he played last season. In comparison, Albert Haynesworth, arguably the biggest free agent bust of all time, made $2.67 million per game with the Washington Redskins.
The Chargers took a steep $6 million cap hit by releasing him, but will save $500,000 in cap space and $4.5 million.