For the first dozen years of their existence, the Ravens had one of the greatest blindside protectors in the history of the game in Jonathan Ogden, whom they had selected with the fourth overall pick in 1996.
About 30 minutes after the market opened at 4 p.m., the Ravens fulfilled their top free-agent priority agreeing to terms with left tackle Eugene Monroe on a five-year, $37.5 million deal, according to a league source.
The Ravens have carved out more salary-cap breathing room by terminating the contracts of veteran fullback Vonta Leach and inside linebacker Jameel McClain on Thursday, creating $4.95 million in salary-cap space.
As the Ravens arrived Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine to evaluate college football prospects, draft analysts are praising this incoming rookie class as the kind that can provide an immediate influx of talent.
Among those players was Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who showcased sharp routes and sound hands. An All-American selection who caught 112 passes for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns last season, Matthews is regarded by NFL scouts as the consummate possession wide receiver.
With the Ravens sending another large delegation of executives, coaches and scouts to Mobile, Ala., to attend a week of practice beginning Monday, their concentration on the Senior Bowl isn't an aberration.
"The Ravens aren't cheap," said Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who writes about the business of football for National Football Post. Now the team must face several complicated personnel and financial decisions.
The Ravens have signed former Houston Texans and New England Patriots running back Cierre Wood to a reserve-future deal. Wood was last with the Patriots on their practice squad, but didn't stick with New England and was released Dec. 26 after being signed Nov. 5.
Following a disappointing 8-8 season in which the Ravens failed to qualify for the playoffs after making it the previous five seasons under coach John Harbaugh, they face another challenging offseason filled with difficult personnel and salary cap decisions.
Now that the Ravens' season is over following a 34-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, their next competitive act will be conducting a coin flip against the Dallas Cowboys at the annual NFL scouting combine.
Some of the Ravens either didn't know or didn't care about all that needed to happen — at least not at that moment — for them to make the playoffs. A 34-point loss to one of your biggest rivals has a way of making everything else seem insignificant.
Eugene Monroe is assigned the critical job each week of protecting quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside. He's graded out the highest of any Ravens offensive lineman this season and has allowed four sacks and 10 quarterback hurries in eight starts, according to Pro Football Focus.
Baltimore Sun reporter Matt Vensel highlights five stats that really mean something for the Ravens this week, including Dennis Pitta's snaps in the slot, Jimmy Smith's streak coming to an end, Joe Flacco's wins and more.
The confidence of star Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has kept pace with his rapidly increasing production this year. Gordon has overcome persistent early-season trade rumors, a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy and a revolving door at quarterback to emerge as one of the top receivers in the league.
Ravens Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach played four seasons for Gary Kubiak and expressed disappointment after the Houston Texans fired his former coach today. Kubiak was dismissed by owner Bob McNair after the Texans' 11th consecutive defeat Thursday night to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Ravens are bracing for a pivotal encounter against Peterson that represents the greatest test so far for their revamped group of inside linebackers. Since Ray Lewis retired in February, Daryl Smith has stabilized the middle linebacker spot while playing opposite a platooning group of weak-side inside linebackers in Jameel McClain, Josh Bynes and rookie Arthur Brown.