The Baltimore Ravens have confirmed that they are indeed shopping T Eugene Monroe, who is being held out of practice while the team explores a deal for the 29-year old bookend.
“As a coaching staff, we just kind of respond to what happens in terms of front-office type of situations, and my understanding right now is that teams are inquiring about Eugene,” Harbaugh said. “And when you’re in that kind of a situation, there’s possibilities of those kind of things happening, you’re pretty much obligated to pull back and not practice a guy. So that’s where it’s at right now, it’s in Ozzie’s (Newsome) hands and we’ll see where it goes.”
Monroe was acquired by the Ravens from the Jacksonville Jaguars in October of 2013, but has been sidelined frequently due to various injuries. Monroe’s missed 17 of 34 games over the past two and half years, and has reportedly become a disgruntled player. It’s easy to see why Baltimore would be willing to listen to offers.
Expectation is that #Ravens OT Eugene Monroe won’t be on the team by the end of Thurs. Could even be traded or released by the end of today
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 15, 2016
While it’s unknown what teams the Ravens are currently negotiating with, it’s fair to wonder if the San Francisco 49ers are among them. While the Niners have vastly improved the interior of their offensive line with the additions of free agent G Zane Beadles and first-round draft pick G Joshua Garnett, they still have a glaring need for someone to play opposite T Joe Staley on the right side.
As of now, T Erik Pears has been seeing snaps with the first team, but anyone who watched the 49ers last season could tell you that’s a recipe for disaster. The other options are T Trent Brown, and rookies T John Theus and T Fahn Cooper. Brown played well when given the opportunity last year, but reports indicated that he seemed out of shape during OTAs. There’s always the possibility of T Anthony Davis making a comeback once training camp opens, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.
So given the options, would it make sense for the 49ers to at least kick the tires on Monroe in the event that he could provide an upgrade at right tackle?
At 6’5 and 300 pounds, Monroe is an athletic tackle who could slide in and start right away. If healthy, he would provide an immediate upgrade at the position and give San Francisco some stability as far as play. Considering the Ravens are selling low on Monroe, he could probably be had for a late round pick (maybe a fourth or fifth). His contract is also attractive, as the team that acquires him would only be obligated to pay $6.5 million this season because the Ravens would still be responsible for the remainder of his signing bonus. All of the other guaranteed money was frontloaded in his deal, so if he works out Monroe could be had at $6.75 million for 2017 and 2018, or he could be let go with very little penalty if things go south.
The downside here is Monroe’s injury history, which has led to questions about his toughness. He’d be changing sides on the line as well, although switching from left tackle to right shouldn’t be too difficult. Monroe did play some on the right side when the Ravens initially acquired him in 2013.
Another issue that might give teams some pause is the fact that he’s been in the news for advocating the use of medical marijuana, and has petitioned the NFL to lift it’s ban on the drug.
“I’m not asking the NFL to prescribe players cannabis,” Monroe wrote. “I’m calling on the league to remove its testing protocols for cannabis. It just makes sense.”
Considering the league’s current stance on marijuana use and how hard they’ve come down on players that are caught using it, the whole situation is, you know, a bit of a red flag.
The 49ers may also not consider Monroe a real option because they are clearly rebuilding, and bringing in a 29-year old with an injury history may not make much sense with younger, unproven players (Brown, Theus, Cooper) on the roster. Although if they are seriously considering Pears as their top option, it would be wise to make a run at another veteran instead.
So what say you Niner Faithful? Is Monroe someone the team should look into, or his does his risk outweigh the reward?