Ravens land new starting LT Eugene Monroe in trade with Jaguars
So far in the 2013 campaign, however, the Ravens' offensive line has been a huge disappointment. They have failed to protect their franchise quarterback, Flacco, who has been sacked 12 times, seventh most in the league. In addition, the team is averaging an abysmal 2.6 yards per carry (30th in the league), and I think it's safe to say that superb running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are not to blame for that number.
General manager Ozzie Newsome is too smooth of a businessman to sit back and watch his team struggle in the trenches, so what does he do? He goes out and gets the best left tackle on the market.
The Ravens traded for Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe on Tuesday night in return for fourth- and fifth-round draft picks. If you don't know who Monroe is, it's not because he has not played well enough to earn recognition - Monroe was Pro Football Focus' 10th ranked left tackle in 2012. Monroe is unknown to many NFL fans thanks to having been one of the only decent pieces of the Jaguars' offense since being drafted eighth overall in 2009.
Monroe will step into the Ravens' starting lineup as Flacco's blindside protector, relegating McKinnie to a swing tackle role. Michael Oher will stick at right tackle, and the interior of the line will remain the same. With Yanda - who has made two consecutive Pro Bowls - at one guard spot and promising youngster Kelechi Osemele at the other, the Ravens' offensive line should not continue to struggle the way it has been. McKinnie will also provide nice depth at either tackle position.
Landing Monroe for two third-day draft picks was a great move by Newsome. After losing a plethora of players to free agency this past offseason, the Ravens are already expected to be given multiple supplemental draft picks in the fourth and fifth rounds - they are still likely to have selections in each round of the draft.
Monroe is in the final year of his contract, but I would expect that Newsome traded for the 26-year-old tackle under the assumption that he will be able to get him signed on a long-term deal over the offseason.
As for the Jaguars, they do a solid job of cashing out on a player who they otherwise likely would have lost to free agency. They are obviously not contending this season, so they will have a chance to get some extra players in the draft to help develop their future roster. Monroe will likely be replaced at left tackle by 2013 second overall pick Luke Joeckel. Though he has struggled early in his professional career, Joeckel will be returning to his college position, which should help him cut down on mental mistakes.