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The Jacksonville Jaguars have traded offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, the franchise’s first-round pick in 2009, to the Ravens. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Jacksonville would receive “multiple third-day draft picks” in exchange for Monroe — Day 3 of the draft includes Rounds 4 for 7. Monroe is earning nearly $4 million this season but is scheduled to be a free agent after the year.
Jacksonville used their 2013 first-round pick (No. 2 overall) on Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. He has started all four games this season on the right side of the line, with Monroe holding down the left. Presumably, Joeckel now will slide over to Blaine Gabbert’s blindside, taking up the position he played last season for the Aggies.
Baltimore, meanwhile, has had veteran Bryant McKinnie starting on the left, with Michael Oher at right tackle. Monroe almost certainly will bump McKinnie out of his job — and possibly off the roster entirely.
The trade rather clearly indicates that Jacksonville had no intention of re-signing Monroe. The 26-year-old tackle is in the final year of his deal, meaning he was a candidate for the franchise tag after 2013. Jacksonville may now consider using that provision on running back Maurice Jones-Drew, though he also could be the next player placed on the trading block by the rebuilding Jags.
The Jaguars already hold an extra fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft, courtesy of a trade with Detroit involving WR Mike Thomas. They also acquired an undisclosed pick (likely a conditional sixth- or seventh-rounder) from Seattle for DT D’Anthony Smith.
As things stand round now, Baltimore has an extra pick in the sixth round (via the Anquan Boldin trade) but no seventh-rounder — the Ravens moved that one to Indianapolis for A.Q. Shipley.
Off to an 0-4 start, the Jaguars probably are wise to start prepping for next year’s draft. Like Cleveland, which recently dealt RB Trent Richardson to acquire an extra first-rounder, Jacksonville would seem to be in the market for a new franchise quarterback — the 2014 draft class has a significant number of intriguing players that may fit the bill. Picking up a couple of extra Day 3 picks probably will not help Jacksonville land one of those elite QBs, but it should provide help in addressing the remainder of the roster or in moving into Rounds 2 or 3 for a coveted player.
Baltimore’s offense has been stuck in neutral so far this season. Coach John Harbaugh bemoaned the team’s inability to run the football after a Week 4 loss to Buffalo, in which Joe Flacco threw 50 times to just nine combined rush attempts from Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.
McKinnie played a key role in the Ravens’ Super Bowl run, stepping into the starting lineup for the playoffs. He reportedly showed up to camp overweight this summer, though, and his overall performance has slipped in recent years. Pro Football Focus currently has him rated as the No. 61 offensive tackle in football; Monroe sits at No. 55.
At first glance, this feels like another Ozzie Newsome special. The Ravens’ GM has shown a repeated knack for being able to address his team’s weaknesses without sacrificing too many future prospects. Monroe may benefit from a change of scenery, too, and could help buoy the struggling line. Newsome will face his own potential franchise-tag decisions after this season — both Monroe and Oher could hit free agency, along with TE Dennis Pitta and others.
As for Jacksonville, this is a “better than nothing” move involving a player that apparently had fallen out of the team’s plans.