ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Ravens will place offensive tackle Jared Gaither on injured reserve, ending his season.
Gaither hasn’t played a snap this year due to a back injury.
Baltimore has withstood Gaither’s absence by moving usual right guard Marshal Yanda to right tackle, and promoting Chris Chester into the starting lineup at right guard. Still, Gaither’s injury is a blow to his long-term outlook.
A 26-game starter — all at left tackle — over the previous two years, Gaither was considered one of the best young tackles in football as the 2009 season came to a close. The former supplemental draft pick suffered a back injury on one of the first days of training camp, however, and may need surgery.
Gaither was “playing” on a one-year contract, so he’s now scheduled to enter the 2011 free agent market coming off back surgery. Gaither might’ve been in line for a Marcus McNeill-like mega deal had he stayed healthy.
Now, the 24-year-old may have to settle for a one-year, “prove-it” deal on the open market.
According to Schefter, the Ravens will use the open roster spot to activate safety Ed Reed (hip) from the Physically Unable to Perform list.