Gaither, our 13th-ranked free agent, was a mid-season addition in 2011, after being released by both the Ravens and the Chiefs. With McNeill injured, he stepped up in a big way and nearly helped the Chargers make the playoffs with a late-season run.
"I was ecstatic. It's definitely been a blessed day. To get that out of the way allows me to focus on football," Gaither said. "It was a great fit. Obviously both of the parties felt that way."
Gaither, as one of my editors pointed out, wins the "How to Announce You've Signed a New Deal on Twitter" award for free agency thus far.
Though he might not phrase his excitement in precisely the same way, there's a good chance that Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is just as excited. The Chargers re-signed center Nick Hardwick as well, and now Rivers blindside should be substantially protected.
IM GOING GOING BACK BACK TO CALI CALI DAYGO WATUP....#BOLTUP— Jared Gaither (@JaredGaither_78) March 14, 2012
There's obviously some concern with Gaither, because of the whole "released by two teams before turning 26" thing. But he's got a ton of upside and if the Chargers structured this deal to incentivize him, it could end up paying off big-time.