Market Cooling For Monroe? Ravens May Get 'Lucky'
Something happened over the weekend that changed Eugene Monroe's status with the Ravens, and Baltimore could get "lucky."
On Friday, Monroe was "unlikely" to return because of a contract divide (he reportedly wanted $10 million per year, and the Ravens wanted to pay $8-9 million) and presumed interest on the open market. But by Sunday night, there was "increased hope" from both sides that an agreement could be reached after a "significant gap" in negotiations was bridged, per The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
We can't know for sure, but Wilson says if a deal gets done, it's expected to fall somewhere between $8.5 million to $9 million. So it doesn't look like the Ravens changed their offer much.
Perhaps the market is cooling for Monroe.
The Miami Dolphins – who were rumored to be one of the most interested suitors for Monroe –* *are expected to sign Chiefs free agent left tackle Branden Albert not long after the market officially opens Tuesday at 4 p.m., according to multiple reports. Albert could reportedly get $9.5 million annually.
Many believed Monroe would want to test free agency, and with "legal tampering" opening Saturday night, the 26-year-old veteran may have discovered this:
"Monroe is the consensus fourth man on the list for the other teams desperate for a left tackle," wrote SI.com's Peter King.
The other tackle-needy teams are expected to sign (per Wilson and King) …
Oakland Raiders -------------------> Ram Rodger Saffold ($8 million)
Arizona Cardinals ------------------> Raider Jared Veldheer ($7-$7.5 million annually)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -----------> Bengal Anthony Collins ($6.5-$7 million)
"The biggest beneficiary of the high-stakes left-tackle poker: the Ravens. They could get the player they've wanted to keep all along," wrote King. "Baltimore could get very lucky."
Nothing is set in stone until these tackles officially sign contracts, and a deal with Monroe isn't imminent, but things seem to be moving in the right direction.
"[I]t seems likely that once teams and agents began their communications on Saturday, either Monroe's camp began to realize that there isn't a better deal out there than the one the Ravens are offering, or the Ravens upped their offer for Monroe when they discovered that offensive tackles are going to be more expensive than they expected. Or perhaps some combination of the two," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith. "But it's now looking a lot more likely that Monroe will remain in Baltimore than it looked 48 hours ago."
As for Michael Oher – the Ravens' other pending free agent tackle – there have been no reports of the Ravens or other teams reaching out. The 2009 first-round draft pick tweeted this Friday night:
"I don't care where I end up in free agency I will play my best football next year!!!"
He added later: "Lol just having fun with it I knew everybody would get a bit on it!"
Flacco Not On Nicks' QB List
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks sent a letter to all 32 teams from highly-respected Dr. Robert Anderson and Dr. James Andrews explaining that Nicks' foot and knee are fine, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
He doesn't want the injuries that limited him to just 109 catches and three touchdowns over the past two years to be a concern when he officially becomes a free agent Tuesday.
Nicks, 26, has been linked to the Ravens and he emphasized he can be a "missing link" to a team with championship aspirations. He has his eye on a number of teams and established quarterbacks, naming a few.
"I know if I went to a place like Indianapolis, I would be dangerous with a quarterback like Andrew Luck," Nicks told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "I can see myself catching passes from Cam Newton or even Philip Rivers."
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was not named.
"Players have already started to reach out to me from other teams saying they would love for me to come join them," Nicks said. "I just want to make it clear that I want a long-term deal and I want to be happy. I'm excited about talking to teams and making it work."
Arthur Jones Off To A Fast Start
It only seems like a matter of time before defensive tackle Arthur Jones says goodbye to Baltimore.
With agents and teams chatting it up since Saturday, Jones has already drawn interest from the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and other NFL teams, according to Wilson.
That's six teams and counting.
No pundits expected Jones to stick around in Baltimore, as he should follow in the footsteps of Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger last offseason and cash in. Only King says Jones will be a better long-term investment than his predecessors.
"It's crazy to think this maybe my very last happy purple Friday wishes," Jones tweeted Friday. "Hopefully not. But as we all know business is business."
In response to a fan that asked him if he would give the Ravens a hometown discount, Jones wrote: "I think Michael Bennett said it best. This isn't Costcos this isn't Walmart. Hahah."
Status Updates On Jacoby, Smith, McClellan, Graham
- The Ravens have an offer on the table to wide receiver Jacoby Jones, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. It's unknown what the offer looks like, but The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec believes that Jones and Daryl Smith are the most realistic Ravens free agents to return …
- Baltimore still hopes to hold onto Smith, who is a priority, but no deal imminent, per Wilson. King believes that Smith should write a thank-you note to ex-Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Smith was never going to "strike it rich in free agency until Jackson signed for $4.5 million a year with Indianapolis last week," King wrote.
- The team reached a two-year agreement with reserve linebacker and special teams player Albert McClellan, per Wilson. "McClellan led the Ravens with a career-high 12 special teams tackles last season," The Sun reporter wrote. "He provides much-needed depth at linebacker and could challenge for playing time. He has lined up at both inside and outside linebacker in the Ravens' 3-4 scheme."
- Retaining Corey Graham would mean the Ravens wouldn't have any turnover among their cornerbacks, but it's not a foregone conclusion that the veteran will be back. Wilson believes Graham will have a "healthy market" after being a productive starting corner and a Pro Bowl special teams selection.
Rashard Mendenhall To Retire … Remembering Lewis' Hit
Ex-Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is already retiring at the age of 26.
He says he wants to walk away from the NFL with his body feeling as good as it did when he entered the league. "I no longer wish to put my body at risk for the sake of entertainment," he told the Huffington Post.
But Mendenhall will leave behind one of the most Ray Lewis' most memorable hits of all time, breaking the then-rookie’s shoulder.
"I think it's sad, but when I think of the career of Rashard Mendenhall, I think of Ray Lewis breaking his shoulder, not his two 1,000-yard seasons with the Steelers," wrote King. "Video of the Lewis hit will be on the great linebacker's top-10 career hits video, and it's a day, from Mendenhall's rookie year, that he'll take into early retirement with him."
Unfair To Put 'Bad Boys' Label On Ravens?
With offensive lineman Jah Reid becoming the third Ravens arrest in 22 days, ESPN's Jamison Hensley wonders if it's unfair to put "bad boys" label on Ravens.
That's what the Ravens were known for prior to Head Coach John Harbaugh's arrival in Baltimore, and then he worked to dispel the image and even banned the all-black uniforms for a few years.
"Embarrassing? Without question. Have the Ravens become the NFL's bad boys again? You could make that argument," Hensley wrote, noting that Ray Rice and Deonte Thompson were both recently arrested. "Even though there has been a spike in arrests, it's hard to blame Harbaugh, because he can't be following 53 players to Atlantic City or Florida. It's also difficult to blame the Ravens, because Rice, Thompson and Reid had never been arrested before in their NFL careers. It's not like you can accuse the Ravens of keeping repeat offenders.
"But it's hard to alter the national perception when the headlines have been about another Ravens player arrested. Bad news is bad news. This was already going to be a challenging offseason for the Ravens, who were coming off their first non-winning season under Harbaugh. The Ravens have to rebuild their offense, part of their front seven on defense, and now their image."
Hensley gives more detail to Reid's arrest in the video below (mobile users tap "View in Browser" at the top of the page).
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