Monday, March 3, 2014
Ravens wisely don't use tag on Monroe
By Jamison Hensley
The deadline to use the franchise tag passed Monday at 4 p.m. ET, and the Baltimore Ravens didn't put one on offensive tackle Eugene Monroe. It was a wise move.
The Ravens certainly need a left tackle, and Monroe proved to be a quality blocker on Joe Flacco's blind side. The problem is Monroe wasn't worth the tag. The Ravens would have paid Monroe $11.6 million in 2014, which represents a huge chunk of the team's available salary-cap space.
If you're going to pay an offensive tackle that amount of money, he'd better be Jonathan Ogden or at least Joe Thomas. The Ravens have too many other needs to devote that amount of cap space to an above average -- but not Pro Bowl -- left tackle.
By not using the tag, the Ravens could easily lose Monroe to the Miami Dolphins or Arizona Cardinals. But it makes more financial sense to try to sign Monroe to a long-term deal than tag him. I wouldn't rule out Monroe's return. He enjoyed his three months with the Ravens. His wife's family lives in the area.
So, what is Monroe worth? When looking at the average salaries for tackles, a deal that averages between $8 million and $9 million per season seems fair. That's the going rate for Duane Brown, Jake Long and Russell Okung. It would put Monroe in the top 10 for highest paid left tackles.
There is a chance that another team is going to pay more. But it wouldn't be the Ravens making that mistake.