La Canfora Sees McClain, Gaither Leaving

Teams in real need of a fullback or tackle could offer top-of-the-market contracts.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

If there’s a market for Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain and tackle Jared Gaither, NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora expects the potential free agents to leave Baltimore.
And in his La Canfora’s eyes, there will definitely be some bidders.
“It’s not impossible that he returns, but if someone really covets him, it’s my suspicion that they’ll probably get him,” La Canfora said, speaking about McClain.
His words could really apply to both players.
McClain would enter the market as one of the top free-agent fullbacks.
The 2009 Pro Bowler is a strong, dependable blocker who has also shown the ability to run and catch. He had 902 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in 2008 and reeled in 21 receptions the past two seasons.
La Canfora pointed out that the Ravens let former thumping fullback Ovie Mughelli sign with Atlanta following the 2006 season and NFL insider envisions a similar situation with McClain, who would join the Houston Texans’ Vonta Leach as two Pro Bowl fullbacks up for grabs.
“Le’Ron is probably in a similar boat [as Leach],” La Canfora said. “The Texans will be competitive and if it makes sense to keep him then great. But if somebody is willing to give Vonta Leech a top-of-the-market contract then they’ll probably move on.
“If the market speaks for Le’Ron and he becomes a real coveted commodity, then so be it.”
Trying to size up the market on Gaither is more difficult, but La Canfora believes there will be one for the 6-foot-9, 340-pounder.
Many teams are looking for tackles, especially one with Gaither’s prototypical size.
“If he’s unrestricted, I tend to think he’ll move on because the crop of tackles isn’t that great and somebody looks at him as an immediate upgrade over their right tackle who can maybe be their left tackle for the next eight years or so,” he said.
“If somebody’s willing to give Gaither some starting left tackle money, that might be the end of his time in Baltimore.”
However, La Canfora did say that teams may be scared off by Gaither’s health problems the past two seasons. He didn’t play at all in 2010 after suffering a preseason back injury and missed five games the year before.
“It might be a situation where he looks around and looks around and looks around and figures, ‘my best bet might be right where I already am,’” La Canfora said.

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