The Ravens have agreed in principle on a contract with Eugene Monroe, locking down their left tackle of the future for five years.
The deal is worth a reported $37.5 million, according to Yahoo! Sports' Rand Getlin, a $7.5 million per year average.
Details were finalized within the first hour of free agency as tackles flew off the shelves. And judging by the deals the other top offensive tackles got, the Ravens got a solid value.
The Miami Dolphins inked Brandon Albert to a five-year, $46 million contract ($9.2 million per year). The Oakland Raiders signed Rodger Saffold to a five-year, $42 million contact ($8.4 million per year). The Arizona Cardinals got Jared Veldheer for five years, $35 million ($7 million per year).
"I'm definitely juiced about it. How couldn't you be?" Monroe told BaltimoreRavens.com.
"I was pretty confident that it would work out wherever it did, but definitely we had confidence that things could work out here. And I'm glad they did."
Monroe was the top left tackle set to hit the free agent market, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Multiple reports indicated it was likely that Monroe would test the market and likely get more money elsewhere, but a domino effect of the other free agent tackles signing elsewhere left the Ravens and Monroe on the same path.
Monroe said he and his agent got an idea of the market's interest in him as free agency approached, but were working with Baltimore the whole time.
Both sides wanted to make a long-term contract work from the start. Monroe is from New Jersey and played college football at Virginia. Monroe's wife is from the Baltimore area. Monroe liked his time with the Ravens last year.
Ravens T Eugene Monroe arrives to sign his contract and address the media.
"It was obvious [I wanted to stay]," Monroe said. "This is home pretty much, especially for my wife who is from here. And my folks are right up the road. You can't beat that, especially having kids and having been down in Florida the past four years."
Keeping Monroe checks off a third important item on the Ravens' offseason list. The team extended outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and re-signed tight end Dennis Pitta last week. The re-tooled offense has retained two key pieces.
Monroe is just 26 years old. The former first-round pick out of Virginia is entering his prime and has the potential to become a Pro Bowler in coming seasons.
The Ravens haven't had a franchise left tackle since Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden retired following the 2007 season. Now they have one to build around.
Last year, the Ravens traded the Jacksonville Jaguars fourth- and fifth-round picks in exchange for Monroe. He played well in 11 games with Baltimore, despite adjusting to a new system and teammates.
Even while the rest of the offensive line struggled, Monroe did not receive a negative grade from PFF in any game with the Ravens. He received an overall grade of 20.4 on the season, the 12th-highest mark of any tackle in the league.
Monroe is a tireless worker and high-character player in the locker room as well. He was still working out at the Under Armour Performance Center even when facing pending free agency.
"I train all year so that doesn't change," Monroe said. "I'm always going to get my work in regardless of where I'm at."
Baltimore surrendered 48 sacks last year, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL. The Ravens averaged 3.1 yards per carry, the lowest mark in the league. With a year under his belt in Baltimore, Monroe should help in both categories. He has the feet and ability to fit into new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's zone run scheme.
"I'm definitely excited for this opportunity and the changes that the new coaches will bring," Monroe said. "It's definitely not something I'm unfamiliar with. Even this past year alone, being introduced into new systems, and prior to that another two, I'm definitely able to adapt and learn new things.
"I'm excited to do that and be better so we can perform a lot better than we did last year."