Since signing a contract to become the Ravens' franchise left tackle in 2014, the last two seasons have not gone according to plan for Eugene Monroe.
The offensive lineman has missed 17 games over the last two years, and he played in just three complete games this year. Monroe's 2015 season officially ended when he went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury in Week 14.
Monroe still has three years remaining on his reported $37.5 million contract, but media pundits have speculated that the Ravens could move on from him next year.
"That's not something I'm concerned with at all," Monroe said when asked if he's confident he'll back with the Ravens next year. "I'm focused on getting healthy and getting back to ball."
Monroe had been incredibly reliable before the last two years, missing just three games in his previous five seasons.
But he's had a rash of injuries lately, missing time because of a concussion and ankle, knee and shoulder injuries. The shoulder issue from this year actually dated back to a college.
"No one likes to be hurt and not on the field, but it is what it is, and I've had some things happen that just were unfortunate," Monroe said. "But I'll make sure I continue to work my [butt] off and continue to get better."
The challenge for the Ravens is that Monroe has been a quality starter when he's on the field, and parting ways with him would create a big need on the offensive line. Cutting him would also leave the Ravens with a reported $6.6 million in dead money, while only freeing up about $2.1 million in salary cap space.
The Ravens would then have to find a replacement in the draft or in free agency, where starting left tackles go for a premium price. Re-signing Kelechi Osemele is also an option after he performed well in his four-game audition at left tackle, but he won't come cheap either.
Monroe's status will likely be a top item discussed by the team brass when they huddle for their annual offseason summit at Owner Steve Bisciotti's home in Florida. The veteran lineman certainly knows his future is somewhat murky, but his priority going into the offseason is to get healthy so he's ready to stay on the field when next season begins.
"I think looking at my film, I've had some time to look at my game and how I've improved from the year before, and I've made major strides," Monroe said. "I've played some pretty good ball, and I'm looking to build off of that."