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Eugene Monroe Injury: Baltimore Ravens tackle sent to injured reserve

The Baltimore Ravens send left tackle Eugene Monroe on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury and his status with the team is in question going forward.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

After signing a five year deal worth 37.5 million during the 2014 offseason, Baltimore Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe has played in 17 out of the 34 games played by the team (including playoffs) and there are rumblings that he may have played his last game as a Raven in week 11 against the St. Louis Rams. Monroe is now on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury.

To say that Monroe's production is a disappointment is an understatement. The Ravens weren't really happy with him during the 2014 season even when he was healthy. There were games last season where he could have performed better in the running game and in the passing game, but didn't.

Monroe has been injured a lot since the start of the 2014 season, whether he has been dealing a shoulder injury, concussions or an ankle injury. Combine that with the fact that backup left tackle James Hurst isn't a capable starter at the position at this point, and the Ravens might not have a choice but to draft a left tackle in the first-four rounds of the NFL draft next season.

Monroe didn't play in two playoff games last year for the Ravens either. Injuries happen and Monroe has had some bad luck with that, but since it seems like he is only available half the time over the last two seasons, it might be time for the Ravens to part ways with him.

But finding good left tackles in the NFL is hard to come by, which is why it isn't a forgone conclusion that Monroe leaves after this season. The Ravens are 4-8 with question marks going forward in terms of needs at wide receiver, pass rushers, inside linebackers and cornerbacks. The last thing the team wants to do right now is add a left tackle near the top of the list.

When Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco tore his ACL against the Rams in week 11, Monroe wasn't playing at left tackle at the time. Hurst was. It was an unfortunate injury for a player in Flacco who never missed a game in his first-seven seasons in the NFL.

When Flacco went down, it most likely gave the Ravens a wake up call throughout the organization and it may have simultaneously put Monroe's job on the hot seat even more. As good of a player as Monroe can be at times, the Ravens need someone who is going to be available and protect their franchise quarterback.

At the end of the day, it's still possible that Monroe returns next season. But at the very least, you can bet that Monroe will have competition at the left tackle position in the offseason whether the Ravens acquire a left tackle via free agency or in the draft. This is a situation that I don't think the Ravens will run the risk of dealing with in 2016.

Roster Moves

1.) Ravens waive Kaleb Johnson

With Monroe sent to IR, the Ravens also waived offensive guard Kaleb Johnson. Johnson, the 6-4, 316 pound rookie out of Rutgers University, has spent a decent amount of time around the Ravens organization this season as the team signed him as an undrafted free agent earlier in the spring.

The Ravens liked him so much to the extent where they gave him a spot on the practice squad after the preseason was over. The Ravens even brought him up to the 53-man roster in week 12 when the Ravens faced the Cleveland Browns. Johnson may still be in the Ravens plans for the future as the team is currently shuffling their roster due to injuries at key positions.

2.) Ravens add Bryn Renner and Chris Matthews to the 53-man roster

With Monroe and Johnson off of the 53-man roster, the Ravens promoted quarterback Bryn Renner and wide receiver Chris Matthews from the practice squad.

Renner, the 6-3, 225 pound second year quarterback from the North Carolina Tar Heels, was impressive in his stints during the preseason showing toughness and pretty good arm strength. Renner played well enough during the preseason to be a fan favorite among Ravens fans. There's even been a debate this week among some Ravens fans on whether or not he should be the starting quarterback as the Ravens prepare to take on the Seattle Seahawks.

Renner being promoted to the 53-man roster probably means that the Ravens are not sure enough on whether quarterback Matt Schaub is ready to play this week after dealing with a couple of big hits against the Miami Dolphins last week. The move can also mean that backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen will get the start against the Seahawks.

Matthews, a 6-5, 218 pound wide receiver from the Kentucky Wildcats, is entering his third year and has the good chance of seeing action against his former team in the Seahawks this week. If you remember, Matthews had a nice breakout game of his own in the Super Bowl against the Patriots this past February. You can check out his Super Bowl highlights here on SB Nation's YouTube channel.

It's funny how things work out sometimes. Matthews might have the opportunity this week to show not only show what the Seahawks are missing, but also help the Ravens provide depth at wide receiver for the future. If he can do that within the last four games of the season, the Ravens can get a little bit of a sigh or relief entering the offseason.