The city of Baltimore was hoping general manager Ozzie Newsome could work his magic and make a trade for a wide receiver who would save the sagging Ravens offense. He did much better.
The Ravens' acquisition of left tackle Eugene Monroe, as reported Tuesday by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, is a fantastic move because it helps the team right now and in the future. Baltimore has struggled to settle on a blind-side protector for Joe Flacco for years, finally deciding that Michael Oher only could handle the right side.
Veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie saved the team with an epic playoff run last season, but Newsome was hesitant to bring him back this year. It turns out the Ravens went back to the well too often. McKinnie has struggled on the field and attracted negative attention off it. He's either headed for the bench or off the team.
Monroe was an upper-tier left tackle for the last two seasons in Jacksonville -- arguably the Jaguars' best player. He's just 26 years old and in a contract year. NFL.com's Albert Breer reported the Ravens only gave up two mid-round draft picks to get Monroe, which is a very reasonable price. Look for Newsome to find a way to keep Monroe in Baltimore long-term, which could mean Oher, who's also in a contract year, is the odd man out after the season.
But that's getting ahead of things. This move helps the Ravens' chances of repeating as AFC North champions, if not Super Bowl champions. Flacco is lacking weapons, and Monroe is a weapon even if he doesn't catch the ball. Newsome needed to upgrade with so many good defenses in the division.
Newsome has a knack for finding useful veterans at the last minute. McKinnie was an example last year. Linebacker Daryl Smith, not picked up until June, has turned into a monster signing this season. Monroe is a much bigger move because he should be with the team for a long time.
The Wizard of Oz strikes again.