The Eugene Monroe era, or error, could be summed up in one sarcastic phrase: "Well that went well". I mentioned in my previous article that Ravens defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, is public enemy number 1 in Baltimore. Monroe was easily public enemy number 2, maybe even ahead of Pees for some.
Unlike the much maligned defensive coordinator, Monroe was ousted out of Baltimore yesterday afternoon after the team could not complete a trade to send the left tackle to any team that needed someone to protect their quarterback's blind side. It's a shame because Monroe got off to a good start as a Raven in 2013 after being traded to Baltimore from The Jacksonville Jaguars in return for a 4th and a 5th round draft pick in 2014. During the following offseason, the Ravens re-signed the then promising left tackle to a 5-year, $37.5 million deal, with $17.5 million guaranteed.
You know what's scary? Over the last 2 seasons, Monroe played the same amount of games (17), that he and the team agreed upon in guaranteed money. That right there is one of the many reasons why the Ravens decided to part ways with him. Now with Monroe gone, ESPN's Jamison Hensley brings up an interesting point in his latest article seen here.
Is Monroe's contract the worst in the history of The Baltimore Ravens? In the article, Hensley believes that to be the case.
"Team officials love to use the mantra "Play like a Raven," and Monroe never could fit the mold. "He worked hard in the weight room, and he had the athleticism to be a franchise left tackle." Hensley continued, "But Monroe lacked the passion and toughness that the Ravens wanted out of their players."
I agree with everything Hensley said here. You knew that Monroe had, and still has, all the tools, talent, and athleticism, to be a franchise left tackle in the NFL. You just never saw it consistently, whether it was for a lack of toughness or effort, you never knew what you were going to get with Eugene Monroe. With Monroe now a free agent, I hope that he settles into a new home and can fulfill those talents for another team. As far as him having the worst contract in the history of the Baltimore Ravens, it is certainly worth the debate.
This was a guy that was being paid a lot of money to be dependent on to protect the franchise's biggest investment, quarterback Joe Flacco, and we saw James Hurst and the now departed, Kelechi Osemele, man the position over the last 2 years because of Monroe's lack of dependability. Monroe, quite simply, could not be trusted with the job and certainly, not worth one penny of that $37.5 million deal he signed just 2 years ago.
There have been other bad contracts in the team's almost 21-year history besides Monroe's. At the end of his article, Hensley mentions two of the most noteworthy players that have been given similar bad deals.
"The Ravens are historically smart in free agency, but the deal with Monroe will rank as the biggest disappointment in the team's 20-year existence, exceeding the ones given to offensive tackle Leon Searcy ($3 million in 2001) and Domonique Foxworth ($16.5 million guaranteed in 2009)" Hensley stated.
Sadly, Monroe isn't the only player that didn't or have yet to live up to the contract's the Ravens have given them in recent years. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones signed a 4 year, $12 million deal worth $4.5 million guaranteed after posting two electrifying seasons in 2012 and 2013 as a receiver and a returner. His play then diminished in 2014, as he fell down the depth chart and the excitement he had as a returner was gone. He was released after that season.
Defensive back Lardarius Webb got off to such a promising start to his Raven's career and had his strongest season in 2011. The Ravens gave him a six-year contract extension worth $50 million that offseason. He got off to a good start in 2012 before tearing his ACL in week 6 against The Dallas Cowboys. Since then, his career has been marred by inconsistent play and numerous injuries.
That contract was restructured in 2014 and again last year. Tight end Dennis Pitta was Flacco's top target in 2011 and 2012, as he played such a vital role in the team's Super Bowl run. He suffered a dislocated and fractured hip during training camp the following year but was able to return in week 14 of the 2013 season. The Ravens then gave him a five-year, 32 million dollar contract during the 2014 offseason. He then dislocated his hip again in a Week 3 game against The Cleveland Browns. He has not played since and will try to give it one more shot this year.
It has been almost a decade since Ravens legend and NFL hall of Famer, Jonathan Ogden, hung up his cleats and since then the Ravens have struggled to find the one true replacement for Ogden. Names like Jared Gaither, Michael Oher, and Bryant Mckinnie, along with Hurst and Osemele, have played left tackle for The Baltimore Ravens since Ogden retired. Monroe was signed to be the franchise's premier left tackle for many years to come, the player who would finally hold the position Ogden created a hall of fame career out of for the Ravens. He was paid like it, if only he played like it.
What do you guys think? Is Eugene Monroe's contract now the worst in Ravens history? Do you think that belongs to someone else? Comment below and discuss.