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The Jaguars dealt starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to the Ravens this week for fourth- and fifth-round picks, with Jacksonville assuming $2.35 million of Monroe's salary and the Ravens paying $547,000. The Browns, hearing of the Ravens nearing a deal for Monroe, reached out to the Jaguars late, and asked of their interest in a player (believed to be receiver Greg Little or right tackle Mitchell Schwartz) , but were told the Jaguars had no interest in the player at that point that trade was essentially complete, sources said.
Monroe was not shopped around -- this deal came together between two teams virtually exclusively, similar to the Browns trade of Trent Richardson to the Colts -- and if the Browns were given the opportunity to work more diligently at trade talks would have been willing to part with a second-day pick and assume the remainder of Monroe's deal, sources said. They valued Monroe very highly as a long-term answer at right tackle -- they already have All Pro Joe Thomas entrenched on the left side -- and, unlike the Ravens, have no salary cap bind, so assuming the full remainder of his contract would not have been prohibitive.
The Browns also may have been willing to do something with Cardinals left tackle Levi Brown, but similarly, the Cardinals were not actively shopping Brown or making it widely known he was available. It seems, more than ever, the onus must be on any interested team to make inquires as to the availability of potential trade talks.
Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell said he believes he got good value for Monroe and noted his “strong working relationship” with members of the Ravens staff for helping the trade come together. “I truly think it's a win-win,” Caldwell said, as Monroe was not in his future plans with rookie Luke Joeckel, the second-overall pick, now their left tackle.
Caldwell also cautioned that he is not looking to move his big contracts or jettison all his veteran players as some have suggested, and the team is not pursuing other trades. However, other GMs continue to believe veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew, in particular, could be moved by the trade deadline at the end of the month, particularly should his production pick up and injuries arise for contending teams at running back.
A team that acquired Jones-Drew at the deadline would owe his roughly $2.5M for the remainder of the season -- a steep price -- but as this week showed us, there are ways to maneuver that as well.
The Ravens have made no attempts to extend Monroe, a potential unrestricted free agent, sources said, but will evaluate how he performs with the team and could attempt to add terms to his deal prior to him being able to hit the market this spring.