Carroll County Times

Eugene Monroe weighs in on contract talks with Ravens

The Ravens want Eugene Monroe back as their starting left tackle.

Coach John Harbaugh talked about that during a news conference in December, and the organization has since expressed that to Monroe and his representation.

Now, it's just a matter of whether the team can work out a deal to keep Monroe in Baltimore.

General manager Ozzie Newsome said Monday that the Ravens have begun contract talks with several of their impending free agents. Monroe is one of those players. Monroe acknowledged that during a phone interview with The Times.

But even for Monroe, it's still too early to predict how this process will play out.

Free agency doesn't begin until March 11.

"It's still early," Monroe told The Times. "There's a lot of time left in this thing. They have been in contact with my agent. Discussions have been made, so that in itself is positive."

Baltimore traded for Monroe in October, sending a fourth- and fifth-round pick in this year's NFL draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for the 2009 No. 8 overall pick.

Monroe started the final 11 games for the Ravens at left tackle, and Harbaugh said after the season that Monroe did "a heck of a job" during that time.

Monroe has never been selected to a Pro Bowl, but it's hard to find quality starting left tackles, especially ones that are just 26.

That makes Monroe a commodity, and it's possible a team in need of a left tackle could outbid the Ravens for Monroe if he does end up hitting the open market.

"I'm a Raven right now until I'm not anymore," Monroe said. "And at this point, we're working out a deal that can make that continue to be the case. And if that happens, that's awesome.

"I've spoken before about how I like it here, so working out a deal here would be great. ... But I'm not really expecting either way. This is business, and it's going to be handled with care as sensitive as it is.

"The Ravens have expressed that they want me here. And obviously by contacting my agent, they're getting things started. But we'll see how it goes."