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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Thought of the Day finale

By James Walker

In our latest "Thought of the Day" in the AFC North, we asked our community about the Jared Gaither situation with the Baltimore Ravens.

There is a lot of speculation whether a foot injury or unhappiness with Gaither's contract was the primary reason he was sidelined for most of minicamp last weekend. There also has been a fair amount of trade speculation in the past few weeks.

Here is a healthy sample of responses on the subject, along with an AFC North final say:

Peatwo from Arlington, Va., writes: The Ravens should hold onto Gaither and have a "win it now" attitude. Injuries will happen on the OL, and depth should be the No. 1 goal. Sure, compensation would be great, but unless they are able to fill 2010 voids with a trade, keep him. The Ravens have proven that they are consistently a top-five draft organization. So I am not as concerned about the "get something for him now" point of view as others seem to be.

Harley from Baltimore writes: I feel that the Ravens would do better trading him for a player, picks or both, and sign an available RT sometime before training camp. I know the market is thin but June 1 cuts are coming up. It is likely that the Ravens could find a suitable RT in those cuts. I would rather have a one-year stopgap RT than a one-year malcontent who may not give his all. Gaither seemed to show his displeasure with the switch with a "foot injury" the next day of minicamp. If Gaither stays, he could continue to be a distraction.

Bob Reisig from Eldersburg, Md., writes: The Jared Gaither situation certainly has the attention of fans in Baltimore right now. Posed with the three options by the "Thought of the Day," my inclination would be to simply let Gaither play out the season on the right side and wait until next offseason to address the next steps. Gaither is a professional on a team full of professionals. He'll do his job and play like a Raven in 2010. If he has any issues with the contract situation or over his move to the right side, I really believe that Baltimore's leadership on the side lines and in the front office will handle the situation quietly as always. Baltimore has a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl this season. Keeping Gaither in the fold now is the best option.

Andrew from Ellicott City writes: Gaither will most likely be traded. He is obviously not happy and Newsome likes to keep the locker room drama free. [General manager Ozzie] Newsome is a genius and he will not let Gaither's contract run out without any compensation. The question is what will the Ravens get for Gaither? He had a first-round tender this past offseason but teams didn't bite. I figure right now the Bills really want him and most likely they only want to give up a 2011 second-round pick, if that. I foresee Baltimore baiting the Bills into giving them a 2011 first-round pick, because they appear to be desperate and the 2010 season is approaching fast.

Jack from Baltimore writes: The clear route right now with Gaither is to let him play it out. He wants to be injured, fine. He'll have to come back at some point. He wants to display his unhappiness, fine. Make our day. Bottom line is that he needs to play well this season if he wants that big paycheck next year, whether it comes from the Ravens or someone else. The only other option is to trade him, but don't do it just to get rid of him. Don't trade him to make a point. If someone gives you a Godfather offer, you take it. But you don't dump a guy without getting fair value for him, no matter how unhappy he is. He's under contract, he works for the Ravens.

Kovacs from Santa Monica, Calif., writes: The Ravens really need to placate Gaither. He's a good player at a premier position. Sure [Michael] Oher was good as a rookie, but if the Ravens try to win with Oher and (insert backup's name here) the Ravens will be taking a major step back. They will surely regress running the ball and all of these newly acquired TEs would be forced to stay in and block. I'll be thrilled if this upheaval continues into the season.

Aaron Bloomington, Ill., writes: Jared doesn't have any negotiating leverage. Baltimore probably has the best O-line in AFC North WITHOUT Gaither! Considering that, Gaither should just sign his tender, and maybe try to get the team to guarantee they won't put a tag on him again next year. But the front office is in the driver's seat here. On the other hand, if I am Ozzie Newsome, why not sign him long term? I mean, what's the downside to having two stud OT's signed for the next four to five years?

Greg from Baltimore writes: The Ravens should trade Jared Gaither to the Bills for a CB and a draft pick. The Bills need a LT or their season is over before it starts. The Ravens want nothing to do with an unhappy Drew Rosenhaus client potentially disrupting their locker room. I believe he will go to Buffalo then fade into obscurity like every other FA that has gone there.

AFC North final say

James Walker: Unless another team is willing to give up something substantial -- and I'm thinking a first-round pick or a package close to it -- Baltimore wouldn't get equal value in a trade. Now that this year's draft is over, the Ravens are probably better off keeping Gaither for one more year and try making a run at the Super Bowl. A draft pick in 2011 is not going to help the Ravens contend this season. Who knows if Oniel Cousins or another backup in Baltimore is ready? Quality starting tackles are hard to come by. The Ravens are really fortunate to have two. But that luxury doesn't mean you just give one away because he's not satisfied with his contract.