PFF gives Monroe slightly better grades, but Mike Tanier wrote a pretty scathing review after studying film on the the former Jaguars’ left tackle. On the other hand, PFF loved Monroe last season, ranking him as their 10th best left tackle. So was this a good deal for Baltimore? For Jacksonville?
The Jaguars end seems easier to analyze. Monroe is a free agent after the season, and the team didn’t view him as an elite left tackle (after all, the Jaguars drafted Luke Joeckel with the expectation that he would take over after Monroe left). That left them with three options: trade him now, let him play out the season and then walk, or franchise him and try to trade him for more in the spring. The latter would be the riskiest option, given that (1) they would be overpaying him, since he isn’t worth franchise tackle money, and (2) Kansas City was unable to unload Branden Albert last season (and for all we know, the Jaguars unsuccessfully tried to deal Monroe last year, too). So for Jacksonville, the benefit to keeping him would be getting 12 more games out of Monroe in a lost season and a 2015 compensatory pick (probably a 4th or 5th rounder).
Instead, Jacksonville received the Ravens 4th and 5th rounders next season. That’s hardly a good return on the 8th overall pick the team invested in him, but that’s a sunk cost at this point (and goes on the ledger of prior management). Trading him was the right move, although we don’t know if they could have gotten more from another team.
As for Baltimore? The team is now without its 4th, 5th, and 7th rounders last season, and may not have much to show for it in 2014 (the 7th was a conditional pick for A.Q. Shipley, currently backing up Gino Gradkowski at center). Baltimore does not have much cap room, which (1) will make it more difficult to resign Monroe (although he already has stated that he wants to stay in Baltimore), and (2) makes it even more important for the team to hit on its draft picks. The outlook isn’t much better for 2014: perhaps the Ravens can restructure the contract of Terrell Suggs, but Baltimore already has $115M allocated to just 40 players next year (and Haloti Ngata ($16M), Flacco ($14.8M), and Lardarius Webb ($10.5M) all have huge cap numbers).
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