I know you all very much wanting Bill Polian to sign Ravens left tackle and restricted free agent Jared Gaither to an offer sheet. If the Colts managed to do this (which would be way out of character for the Colts) and if Gaither agreed to the offer, the Colts would then have to fork over their #31 overall pick to the Ravens.
From a general perspective, it seems simple enough: A low-first round draft pick for a 6'9, 340 left tackle who is only 23-years-old and is entering his 4th season.
Of course, there is also the money aspect, paying Gaither a contract that would likely put him in the Top 10 left tackles category. But, as fans, we don't care about things like roster and signing bonuses because Jim Irsay already has a ton of money and in today's economy there is no sympathy for rich people. If Irsay isn't using the gobs of cash to improve the team, fan thought (right or wrong) is that he is hording it. Our sole focus is wanting to the see the team get better, no matter what. And since there is no salary cap in 2010, I get the sense that fans are less understanding of the Colts possibly being "on a budget."
Again, the Colts make a ton of cash and play in a stadium that residents of Indianapolis pay for. No one wants to hear about your "budget," Mr. Irsay.
In regards to Gaither, using tactics like adding "poison pills" into the offer sheet could block the Ravens from matching the offer. However, using such tactics is a big "no-no" in the close knit, buddy system that runs the NFL. The Vikings and Seahawks did that to each other over Steve Hutchinson a few years ago, and bad blood between them will linger for some time.
The reality with Gaither is that if the Colts give him a truly competitive offer, the Ravens will match it because the Ravens are not stupid. Gaither is a young left tackle. You don't let players like that walk away, and in an uncapped year Baltimore fans and media are much less understanding of their team NOT shelling out big money for important players.
Now, some of you might be saying, "But what about the draft pick compensation?"
What about it? The Ravens are not the Raiders. They know they are not going to find a replacement for Gaither at pick #31. They likely won't find a replacement at pick #25. The only way to sign Gaither to an offer sheet and make certain the Ravens do not match it is to put "poison pill" clauses in the offer sheet, and the Colts are not going to do that. Polian has too much respect for Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens to pull that kind of cheap, petty stunt.
So, I'm sorry. I know many of you want Gaither, but it isn't going to happen. The Colts will likely enter 2010 with the same left tackles they currently have unless a player like Bryan Bugala happens to magically fall into Polian's lap on draft day.