The Baltimore Ravens released Eugene Monroe, and the chase after him has begun, with the New York Giants the leading contender to sign the left tackle, followed by the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts.
The Giants were in talk with the Ravens about a Monroe trade, but the talks fell, and the Ravens cut Monroe, who has played in only 17 games out of a possible 32 over the last two seasons, not living up to expectations since coming from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013 via trade. The Ravens did give Monroe a $37.5 million, six year deal in 2014, but the opportunity to release him without having to pay too much for it, saving $13.5 million over the next three seasons in cap savings, while picking up $6.6 million in dead money. Previously, the Ravens tried getting Monroe to take a pay cut, but he wouldn’t budge. Once his medical clearance came through, he was removed from the practice field, as the team was shopping him to others aggressively.
So what now? Free agency. The Giants are the premier contenders for Monroe, who’ll now have to expect lower cash offering than what he was expecting in Baltimore. But offensive-line needy teams are often willing to pay for a proven starter. The only problem with Monroe is his proneness to injury, which is going to hurt his market value, but expect him to be gone and signed pretty quickly. Despite all of the Giants moves in the offseason, they remain problematic in quarterback protection, and really need Monroe’s help.
The only team that might need more help in the front five are the Seattle Seahawks, who are going through a strange process of trying to build the cheapest ever offensive line. While Russell Wilson is already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he does need someone watching his flanks. They’ve been unwilling to spend so far, but if Monroe comes at a bargain price (backloaded contract, incentive heavy), the Seahawks might change their direction this offseason.
Two teams that have been eager for more offensive line upgrades are the Bears and Colts. Indianapolis seems like a good place to believe Monroe will end up with if the Giants link falls through: They’ve never been shy of going after veterans, and they’re pretty much in need of a right tackle. Not Monroe’s best position, but he can play there. The Bears aren’t too desperate, but Monroe would be an upgrade over Charles Leno, a 7th round pick in 2014, but not someone who really impressed in his rookie season. The Bears were busy building the offensive line this offseason, adding Bobby Massie, Nate Chandler, and Cody Whitehair, but Monroe could make the picture look a lot more complete.