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Chargers keep Gaither with four-year deal

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By PFW staff

The Chargers have signed OT Jared Gaither to a four-year contract, a major boost to a team that has had a rough offseason thus far on the offensive line.

Gaither started five games for the Chargers at the end of last season after being released by the Chiefs. The offensive line as a whole did much better when he was in the lineup, and the team made re-signing him a top priority this offseason.

"I was ecstatic," Gaither said. "It's definitely been a blessed day to be able to get that done and just get that out of the way. It allows me to focus on football strictly and solely and get the job done."

Gaither will be an anchor on a line that will be without OT Marcus McNeill and OG Kris Dielman next season. McNeill was released on Tuesday and Dielman retired earlier in the offseason.

The way we see it

Gaither's career seemed to be headed in the wrong direction, as he missed all of 2010 with the Ravens because of a back injury and struggled early in '11 with the Chiefs. However he was solid upon arriving in San Diego, as he was much more comfortable in Norv Turner's offense, which is similar to the scheme in which he played in Baltimore. Standing 6-foot-9, Gaither is a big body who can wall off defenders and give QB Philip Rivers time to throw.

The Chargers are still going to look to add offensive-line help in the upcoming draft, but keeping Gaither — along with C Nick Hardwick, who was re-signed on Tuesday — is a huge boost to the team after losing McNeill and Dielman.

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