We've been down this road before already.
The Ravens are trying to get the best bang for their buck with one of the top free agent left tackles in the NFL. They traded fourth- and fifth-round picks for Monroe's services mid-season and would like to capitalize on that for the long term.
But like nay negotiation, both sides will start at opposite sides and work their way to the middle. According to the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson, that's where things stand at this time.
Wilson reports that the Ravens and Monroe are "far apart" on a deal at this time. But the same could be said early on about negotiations with tight end Dennis Pitta, who wound up signing a five-year, $32 million contract last Friday. The Ravens have built quite a history of low-balling players early on before meeting in the middle and striking a deal.
This year, that narrative has played out a lot quicker than usual. In previous seasons, the Ravens have had more time with one crucial player. This year, there are multiple. First it was extending Terrell Suggs to get a more cap-friendly number. Then it was taking care of Pitta. Both of those deals were done at an accelerated pace compared to previous offseasons.
But the Ravens still have other players on their wish list to bring back, including Daryl Smith, Corey Graham, Jacoby Jones and Arthur Jones. Arthur Jones is probably the least likely to stay due to a salary he'll likely command. But that doesn't mean the Ravens won't try.
One way to continue negotiations with Monroe without worrying about the free agent market would be to franchise him on Monday before 4 p.m. This would allow the Ravens to continue to hash out a deal while guaranteeing a spot in Baltimore in 2014. But it won't come cheap. The franchise tag for offensive linemen this year is $11.654 million. It could be something that, even in the short term, alters negotiations with other players.
Just because the Ravens and Monroe aren't close to a deal at this moment, it doesn't mean they won't reach one. Free agency doesn't officially begin until March 11, so there's still plenty of time to get a contract done before other teams have a chance to offer him.
And with the Ravens track record this 2014 offseason, there's a good chance they'll wind up striking a deal with another player placed with a high priority.