Chargers plan to meet with Jared Gaither before free agency begins

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

New San Diego general manager Tom Telesco plans to meet with embattled left tackle Jared Gaither before free agency begins on March 12.

San Diego Chargers left tackle Jared Gaither has a big hill to climb to return to the good graces of the Chargers, but new general manager Tom Telesco wants to sit down with Gaither to form his own opinions according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Telesco said he plans to meet with Gaither in the coming weeks, likely before the start of free agency on March 12.

Gaither, 26, signed a four-year contract last offseason and was limited to just four games in the 2012 season. He missed the start of the season with a back injury and a groin strain kept him out for much of the rest of the season and ultimately landed him on injured reserve.

Some Chargers players and other members of the San Diego organization questioned Gaither's toughness and commitment. After he was placed on IR, he was told not to return to the building.

Despite the negative impression he left on the organization last year, Telesco wants to decide for himself if Gaither has a place on the team, saying "I wasn't here for any of that, so I've got to see for myself."

For his part, new coach Mike McCoy said, "everybody is going to start with a clean slate," but he also indicated he would speak with team leaders to gather information.

If Gaither is on the Chargers' 2013 roster he would make $4.5 million and cost $6.5 against the cap. If he is released he would still cost $6 million towards the 2013 salary cap.

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