The Eugene Monroe era is officially over after the Ravens released the unreliable left tackle. Without Monroe on the roster, the projected starters at offensive tackle are rookie top ten pick Ronnie Stanley on the blindside and fourth-year mauler Ricky Wagner bookending the right side of the offensive line.
If one of the starters incurs an injury that forces them to miss time, the Ravens do have some in-house options. Elite right guard Marshal Yanda has performed admirably when called upon to slide out to right tackle on multiple occasions during his career. James Hurst played adequately as a rookie in 2014 but struggled mightily last season when filling in for Monroe.
Fourth-round rookie Alex Lewis played offensive tackle at Nebraska and has good technique, but his slow feet may make him a better fit at guard. Developing offensive lineman De’Ondre Wesley has ideal size to play right tackle and received limited game action last year before a leg injury ended his season. Ryan Jensen has played some tackle in preseason contests, however, his skill set is better utilized at the interior line positions.
The free agent market at offensive tackle is mostly barren at this juncture of the offseason. Will Beatty, Jake Long and Khalif Barnes are the only potential upgrades. It is unknown if these three veterans have anything left in the tank.
Beatty, the longtime Giant, missed the entire 2015 season with a torn pectoral muscle after a solid 2014 showing. Long, a former first overall draft pick has seen his career ravaged but multiple ACL tears. but claims to finally be healthy this offseason. Barnes was never a great player, to begin with, and is now 34 years old with a drunk driving arrest in April on his record.
The decision to bring in a veteran to bolster tackle depth hinges on the confidence the Ravens have in the backups already on the team. If Beatty or Long are indeed healthy, it would be prudent to sign them considering the Ravens currently have more than $13 million in cap space at their disposal for next season.
Despite all of the new skill position weaponry, the Ravens cannot expect Joe Flacco to be productive without adequate protection. The difference between Flacco's effectiveness under pressure compared to opportunities with time in the pocket is staggering.
* Chart courtesy of Pro Football Focus.