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Eugene Monroe, Baltimore Ravens far apart in talks

With the franchise tag deadline looming at 4 p.m. ET today, the Baltimore Ravens will have a critical decision to make on left tackle Eugene Monroe.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday the sides have made no real progress on getting a new contract done. Given the Ravens' salary cap space, the franchise tag still looms as a considerable option, per a source informed of the team's thinking. 

The Baltimore Sun first reported the news. 

If Monroe hits the open market, there will be no shortage of suitors looking to sign the 26-year-old offensive tackle with 73 starts under his belt.

Locking up Monroe, Around The League's No. 4 overall free agent and top offensive tackle, became the top priority after the team agreed with tight end Dennis Pitta to a five-year contract extension.

It remains uncertain whether the Ravens will tag Monroe, but they have considered the possibility.

The tag for offensive tackles sits at $11.645 million. It is a good chunk of the payroll, especially for a team that has other holes it needs to fill.

While tagging Monroe might be an expensive pill to swallow in the short term, it ensures the Ravens keep the best available tackle as they remake a porous line. The tag would give the team leverage to work out a long-term contract for the young offensive lineman.

If the sides remain far apart throughout the day and the team decides it doesn't want to tag Monroe, they'll end up in a bidding war with the likes of the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, which won't make him any cheaper to retain.

Without Monroe in the fold, it will be that much more difficult for general manager Ozzie Newsome to upgrade his offensive line.

UPDATE: The Ravens indeed did not tag Monroe, Rapoport reported shortly after the deadline passed. 

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" works through our top 101 free agents and responds to some heat from Donte Whitner.

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