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Ravens Offer Kelechi Osemele Aggressive Deal

Posted Feb 25, 2016

Baltimore wants Kelechi Osemele to be their left tackle, which could trigger Eugene Monroe’s exit.

Head Coach John Harbaugh and General Manager Ozzie Newsome have made it clear.

The Ravens want Kelechi Osemele to be their left tackle.

Baltimore is putting its money where its mouth is, offering Osemele a deal that would, according to multiple reports, make Osemele the second-highest paid offensive player on the team behind quarterback Joe Flacco.

Now it’s just a matter of whether Osemele will accept.

“It’s a really aggressive deal,” Harbaugh said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I think it shows a lot of respect to K.O [Osemele]. It shows him that we really want him here, and I hope that he takes it.”

The Ravens currently have Eugene Monroe at left tackle. Monroe is entering the third year of a reported five-year, $37.5 million contract he signed before the 2014 season.

The Ravens could opt to trade or release Monroe if Osemele re-signs. If Baltimore cuts Monroe after June 1, it would reportedly create $6.5 million of cap savings.

The problem is that Monroe has missed 17 games, including the postseason, over the past two seasons after being tremendously durable during his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Ravens have had to rely on backup undrafted left tackle James Hurst in Monroe’s absence. Hurst has played 1,099 snaps over the past two years, per Pro Football Focus. Monroe has played 1,062.

Outside of a back injury that forced Osemele out after seven games in 2013, the 2012 second-round pick has been very durable and tough. He has started 14 games each of the past two seasons.

Osemele is a workout warrior (he’s been at the Under Armour Performance Center gym this offseason) and plays the mauling, aggressive style of football that Baltimore loves.

The Ravens gave Osemele a four-game audition at the position at the end of last season and came away majorly impressed. Osemele handled some top-notch defensive ends and outside linebackers, including Seattle’s Cliff Avril and Kansas City Pro Bowler Tamba Hali.

On Wednesday, Newsome delivered a similar message to Harbaugh’s about the team’s preference at left tackle.

“Right now, Monroe is our starting left tackle because K.O. is a free agent,” Newsome said.

Newsome’s words indicated that Osemele will test the open market, and that’s what Harbaugh expects as well.

“I’m sure he’s shopping the deal,” Harbaugh said. “I hope he says, ‘You know what, I know what the Ravens are all about. I know they believe in me. I know what kind of football they want to play.  And I feel like I’m part of this thing for a long time, like Marshal Yanda has done.’”

Harbaugh said the Ravens will just move on if Osemele doesn’t re-sign after testing the free-agency waters. Baltimore has had to shuffle the offensive line many times over the years.

“We still have Eugene; he’s still in our program,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll put the best five guys out there and build the best offensive line we can, really no matter who’s here and who’s not here. But you know, as a coach, I really want K.O. here. And I hope he feels the same way.”

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