Philadelphia Eagles News

Gaither's Future Plans Tied To CBA Agreement

As linebacker Omar Gaither recovers from the Lis Franc injury that required season-ending surgery, he looks towards an uncertain future.

Gaither's contract is up at the end of this season and with four years of NFL service he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. However, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement also expires at the end of this season. If a new one is not negotiated before March 2010, the league will operate next season without a salary cap.

While that would sound perfect for someone hitting the free agent market, the rules for free agency change as well. A player will need six years of service to become an unrestricted free agent in an uncapped year instead of four. If there is an uncapped year, Gaither fully expects to return to the Eagles next season.

"As of right now, I'm an Eagle next year due to the fact that the Collective Bargaining Agreement hasn't been reached yet," Gaither said. "If they're not able to ink out a deal, then I'll be an Eagle next year."

That doesn't mean, however, that Gaither would leave if a new CBA is agreed upon and he does becomes an unrestricted free agent.

"If they do get the deal done and I am a free agent this doesn't mean I won't be an Eagle," Gaither said.

Gaither admits that he would like to become an unrestricted free agent, but the one thing he wants is the opportunity to play. In Gaither's four years with the Eagles, he played in 53 games (started 34) and notched 329 tackles, 4.0 sacks and a pair of interceptions. He also logged 39 special teams tackles.

"I just want to go somewhere where I can play and play consistently," Gaither said. "That could happen here. Who knows?"

A fifth-round draft pick in 2006, Gaither was the starting middle linebacker in 2007, but lost the job in 2008 to Stewart Bradley. Gaither was the weakside linebacker in 2008 until the midpoint of the season when Akeem Jordan took over. Gaither started three games in the middle this year due to Bradley's season-ending knee injury, but unfortunately suffered an injury of his own in the October loss at Oakland. Gaither isn't concerned about returning to form after the injury.

"It's one of those things where it heals and you're fine. I was able to get five games, six games in of good film. I feel like I've had good games, good film over the past few years," Gaither said. "It's crazy how things happen, but I feel like everything happens for a reason. It's just something else to make me stronger. I'm just going to continue to look at the bright side of every situation. At least it didn't happen in preseason or training camp."

And with no CBA extension expected in the near future, Gaither is eyeing a return to Philadelphia next season.

"I'm an Eagle next year and that's what I'm looking forward to," Gaither said.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:30 a.m., November 12

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