The Ravens are in a solid position to continue plugging holes.
When General Manager Ozzie Newsome spoke with the media in January, he identified three key areas for the Ravens to address this offseason:
- Offensive line
- Wide receiver
Newsome and the Ravens checked a big item off that list by re-signing left tackle Eugene Monroe to a five-year contract Wednesday. The new deal makes Monroe the franchise left tackle and solidifies one of the most important positions on the football field.
And now the Ravens can focus more on addressing some of the other positions of need through free agency or the draft.
"It just helps us to be able to now move to some other positions for us to help the offensive line," Newsome said. "There would have been a void there if we had not been able to get Eugene signed to a long-term deal. And we would be facing out in the market with some teams, and there weren't a lot of tackles out there."
The Ravens still have questions with the line, as right tackle Michael Oher is a free agent and left guard Kelechi Osemele is coming off back surgery. Center Gino Gradkowski is also expected to be challenged for his spot after his first year as a starter. The only certainties with the line are Monroe on the blindside and Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda at right guard.
Getting bigger on the interior of the line is a goal for the Ravens, and they have reportedly been in contact with center Alex Mack. The Pro Bowler from Cleveland is considered the top free agent center, but he will be tough to sign because the Browns placed the transition tag on him. To pry Mack from Cleveland, the Ravens would have to make him an offer Cleveland is unable to match.
The Ravens could also rebuild the line through the draft, which is considered the deepest class in recent memory.
Whichever route the Ravens choose to address their remaining needs, they have already checked off top priorities the last couple weeks by re-signing Monroe and free agent tight end Dennis Pitta.
"To build from Dennis and Eugene now, as our first two guys that we've signed – two guys on our team that are lynch-pin type guys on offense – is really important," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.