Ravens release Eugene Monroe

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After two disappointing seasons and an offseason spent advocating for medical marijuana usage among NFL players, the Ravens have had enough of Eugene Monroe.

The veteran tackle was released by the Ravens on Wednesday afternoon after Baltimore could not find a trade partner for Monroe.

According to Monroe’s Twitter account, he was cleared to play football last week. However, Monroe was held out of the Ravens’ first mini-camp practice yesterday, and head coach John Harbaugh made it clear that the Ravens did not want Monroe practicing.

“My understanding right now is that teams are inquiring about Eugene,” Harbaugh said after yesterday’s practice. “…It’s in Ozzie’s hands, and we’ll just see where it goes.”

The relationship between Monroe and the Ravens clearly blew up after Monroe spent his entire offseason being an advocate for the usage of medical marijuana among NFL players. Probably the most telling example of the failing relationship came from Harbaugh, when he promised earlier in the offseason that Monroe “does not speak for the organization.”

Even though many other NFL players aside from Monroe have and still use marijuana, there has been no support from other NFL players in helping Monroe with his campaign. Most players probably feel that this particular hill is too big to climb at this time. It is common sense that most NFL players would love to be able to use cannabis freely. Fear of being cut and isolated is probably a big reason why no other players have come forward alongside Monroe.

It is clear that Monroe did not care about what the Ravens thought of his campaign, and now he will have to find a new home. Before Monroe’s release, it was rumored that the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, and San Diego Chargers showed interest, but no one wanted to take on Monroe’s big contract through a trade.

After the 2013 season, the Ravens signed Monroe to a five-year, $37.5 million contract with $17.5 million guaranteed. He was due to make $6.5 million in base salary this season.

Russell Street Report’s Brian McFarland breaks down the financial impact of the Ravens releasing Monroe:

Since signing the five-year contract, Monroe has only started 15 out of 34 games for the Ravens over a two-year period. He has missed time with various injuries, most recently a shoulder injury that kept him out of action for the final six games of 2015. When healthy, Monroe is a solid left tackle, but has only played in 16 regular season games once in his eight-year NFL career.

After two extremely disappointing seasons and a very controversial offseason, it will be interesting to see what kind of contract Monroe will be offered and which teams are willing to give one to him.

With Monroe’s departure, the Ravens will now turn to their first round draft pick, Ronnie Stanley out of Notre Dame, to take the left tackle job. Baltimore also has a need at left guard, and has plenty of options to take a look at for that role, including;

  • Alex Lewis – 2016 fourth round draft pick
  • John Urschel – 10 starts in two NFL seasons
  • Ryan Jensen – six starts (all in 2015) in three NFL seasons
  • Todd Herremans – 33 year old veteran brought in for a workout earlier this week. Not officially signed.

With Jeremy Zuttah (center), Marshal Yanda (right guard), and Rick Wagner (right tackle) all penciled in as starters on the offensive line, the left side of the line remains in question. The Ravens are hoping that Stanley can be their franchise left tackle of the future, but perhaps the biggest hole to fill will be left guard. It will be interesting to see if one of these four players can take that job when training camp gets underway.

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