NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

NFL Personnel
Eugene Monroe

By Staff Writer Matt Pearce:

Just two weeks ago, the Indianapolis Colts made a stunning trade with the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson. This week, there has been another trade similar to this (though of a lesser magnitude).

Baltimore Ravens trade for OT Eugene Monroe

Another week, another trade between a playoff contender and a team near the bottom of the league. This time, the 0-4 Jacksonville Jaguars have traded with the defending Super Bowl champion, the 2-2 Baltimore Ravens.

Being traded from the Jaguars is left tackle Eugene Monroe, with the Ravens giving up a fourth and fifth round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Drafted with the eighth overall pick in 2009 out of Virginia, Monroe was a starter right away for the Jaguars and hasn’t looked back, playing in 65 out of a possible 68 games with 62 starts so far in his career. All of this and he is still just 26-years old and won’t turn 27 until April of 2014.

Last season, Monroe graded out as the 10th best left tackle in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. His strength is pass blocking though he is no slouch in the run game. He has been the Jaguars’ most consistent offensive lineman over the last few years. He is a borderline top ten left tackle in the NFL and still has time to improve and become better. I would consider him one of the more underrated offensive linemen in the league because he played for the Jaguars (who haven’t exactly been a model offense recently).

Looking at all that, it is surprising that the Jaguars let him go for just a fourth and a fifth round pick. However, Monroe, as already stated, is a free agent at the end of the season and the Jaguars clearly didn’t think that he was going to re-sign with them. Instead of watching him leave in free agency and probably receive a forth round compensatory pick, they decided to trade him.

Replacing Monroe at left tackle for the Jaguars will be second overall pick from this year Luke Joeckel. Joeckel had played right tackle for the first four games of the season but he will shift over to his college position of left tackle where he should play better.

Eugene Monroe

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Another reason that the Jaguars were willing to trade Monroe is because they had Joeckel ready to go at left tackle. However, the Jaguars never should have drafted Joeckel in the first place. They already had a good, young left tackle in Monroe. What they should have done is signed Monroe to a big contract extension and drafted a pass rusher like Dion Jordan. This would have made their team stronger than it currently is.

On the Ravens’ side of things, this is a complete no-brainer. Through the first four games of the season, their offensive line looked awful, creating no holes in the run game (2.6 yards per carry) and allowed constant pressure (12 sacks and numerous pressures) on quarterback Joe Flacco. This moves beefs up the line, which was the root of the Ravens’ offensive struggles.

Monroe will replace veteran Bryant McKinnie in the Ravens’ starting lineup. A key player in the Ravens’ Super Bowl run last season, McKinnie was re-signed in the offseason but has underperformed all season — along with the rest of the Ravens’ offensive line. Now the Ravens are reported to be trying to trade McKinnie though it is doubtful that this happens. Monroe will provide the Ravens with the best blindside protector they’ve had since Hall-of-Famer Jonathan Ogden retired after the 2007. The Ravens drafted Michael Oher in 2009 with intentions to play him at left tackle but he has turned out to be better off at right tackle.

There is currently $2.9 million remaining on Monroe’s contract this season. The Jaguars and Ravens have split this amount. Paying most of the salary ($2.35 million) will be the Jaguars and the Ravens will pay the remaining $547,000. This allows the Ravens to actually acquire Monroe as they only had about $1.5 million in available cap space.

By trading picks in the fourth and fifth rounds, the Ravens are left with four draft picks in the 2014 draft. These picks come in the first, second, third, and sixth rounds (the Ravens traded away their seventh round pick for center A.Q. Shipley). However, due to losses in free agency this offseason, the Ravens will probably be getting four compensatory draft picks. My guess for these picks is two fourths, a fifth, and a sixth round pick. General Manager Ozzie Newsome places a high value on draft picks so he probably doesn’t make this trade without knowing he would be getting these picks. Fun fact: this is the first time Newsome has made a trade in season.

This trade will give the Jaguars with ten picks in the 2014 draft with the extra picks coming as forth and fifth rounders from the Ravens and a fifth rounder from the Detroit Lions.

Monroe is in his contract year so the Ravens will need to try and lock him up for the long term. Expect the Ravens to try to work out a deal to keep Monroe in a Ravens’ uniform for a while. He is the best offensive tackle to play for them since Ogden retired and the Ravens just payed Flacco big money so they need to surround him with the best talent possible. Two things to note are that Monroe’s wife is actually from Baltimore and Monroe is good friends with Oher after playing in the Army Bowl together coming out of high school.

If Monroe is signed to a long-term deal, there might not be enough cap room to re-sign Oher at the end of this season as he is also a free agent. The Ravens drafted tackle Ricky Wagner in the fifth round in this year’s draft so there is already a possible replacement for Oher on the roster.

Overall, the Ravens easily won this trade as they got Monroe for such a low price. Monroe is a 26-year old left tackle, which is the most important position on the offensive line, and he has been a starter since entering the league. He is a borderline top ten left tackle and the Jaguars just traded him for picks in the fourth and fifth rounds.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers release QB Josh Freeman

Finally, the circus that had become the situation between the Buccaneers and Freeman has ended with, unsurprisingly, his release.

Freeman had been the Buccaneers starting quarterback since partway in his rookie season (2009). Drafted with the 17th overall pick out of Kansas State, Freeman was supposed to be the Buccaneers quarterback of the future, and and one point it looked like that would be the case.

Over the past few weeks, the relationship between the Buccaneers and Freeman deteriorated. And that is putting it nicely.

First, Freeman was benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon after completing 45.7 percent of his passes and having a quarterback rating of 59.3. Then, the Buccaneers proceed to tell Freeman to not show up at team meetings and made him inactive last week and forced him to watch from a suite, not the sidelines. Along with this, Freeman’s confidential status in the NFL’s drug program (which Freeman voluntarily put himself in after accidentally taking Ritalin instead of Adderall for his ADHD). Then, it was reported that Freeman was fined twice by the team for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

It is widespread knowledge that he wasn’t a favorite of current head coach Greg Schiano — who is becoming a polarizing figure down in Tampa Bay.

Regardless, Freeman’s release was the best thing for both teams. The Buccaneers tried to trade Freeman before releasing him but, unsurprisingly, based on what was going on, they didn’t find any suitors.

All of the remaining $6.2 million that is left on his contract and it will count against the cap. He was going to be a free agent at the end of the season so there is no future cap implications.

Freeman’s best season came in 2010, his first full season as the starter. He threw for 3,451 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 95.9. After this season, it looked like Freeman would be the Buccaneers quarterback for a long time the next two seasons saw a drop in play and this season he was playing the worst that he has ever played in the NFL.

Expect a team to signed Freeman and bring him on as their backup. No team is going to take him as a starter but he would be a quality backup for a team.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals trade OT Levi Brown to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional draft pick.
The Arizona Cardinals sign LB Marcus Benard.
The Baltimore Ravens cut S Christian Thompson.
The Baltimore Ravens cut TE Billy Bajema.
The Chicago Bears sign DT Landon Cohen.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign LB Michael Boley.
The Cincinnati Bengals waive CB Curtis Marsh.
The Cleveland Browns waive WR Josh Cooper.
The Detroit Lions sign WR Kevin Ogletree.
The Detroit Lions waive DT D’Anthony Smith.
The Green Bay Packers sign RB Michael Hill.
The Indianapolis Colts sign FB Robert Hughes.
The Indianapolis Colts waive WR Griff Whalen.
The Indianapolis Colts cut S Joe Lefeged.
The Indianapolis Colts sign S Larry Asante.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign WR Tobais Palmer.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign WR Jeremy Ebert.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut QB Ricky Stanzi.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut G Jacques McClendon.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign G Jacques McClendon.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign QB RIcky Stanzi.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut WR Jeremy Ebert.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut WR Tobais Palmer.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign WR Jeremy Ebert.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut LB Kyle Knox.
The Miami Dolphins waive FB Tyler Clutts.
The Miami Dolphins waive S Kelcie McCray.
The Miami Dolphins sign LB Austin Spitler.
The Minnesota Vikings cut OT DeMarcus Love.
The New England Patriots release CB Marquice Cole.
The New England Patriots sign S Kanorris Davis.
The New England Patriots cut S Kanorris Davis.
The New England Patriots sign CB Marquice Cole.
The New England Patriots sign WR Austin Collie.
The New England Patriots release TE Zach Sudfeld.
The New York Giants waive RB Da’Rel Scott.
The New York Giants sign C Dallas Reynolds.
The New York Jets release WR Ben Obomanu.
The New York Jets sign WR David Nelson.
The Pittsburgh Steelers release CB Isaiah Green.
The San Diego Chargers sign OT Nick Becton.
The San Diego Chargers release RB Fozzy Whittaker.
The San Diego Chargers sign WR Lavelle Hawkins.
The San Diego Chargers sign LB Thomas Keiser.
The San Francisco 49ers sign LB Jermaine Cunningham.
The San Francisco 49ers sign QB John Skelton.
The San Francisco 49ers waive QB B.J. Daniels.
The San Francisco 49ers waive FB Owen Marecic.
The Seattle Seahawks waive LB John Lotulelei.
The St. Louis Rams sign LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
The St. Louis Rams release OT Max Starks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release WR Kevin Ogletree.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release S Ahmad Black.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign WR Chris Owusu.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign WR Tiquan Underwood.
The Washington Redskins release DE Phillip Merling.
The Washington Redskins release K John Potter.

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