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Ravens kick-start free agency by re-signing Monroe

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The Baltimore Ravens got off to a strong start as free agency offically commenced, re-signing left tackle Eugene Monroe to a five-year contract worth $37.5 million.

Monroe was expected to take a bit of a discount after expressing a desire to stay in Baltimore, only for his price to suddenly rise as free agency approached.

Baltimore didn't seem interested in matching that price and was willing to let him test the open market, only for things to work out in their favor as Monroe lowered his demands as his value plummeted.

It's a terrific deal for the Ravens, who get Monroe in the middle of his prime for the next five years at a very affordable rate.

The Ravens surrendered two, mid-round draft picks to acquire Monroe last year from the Jacksonville Jaguars, so losing him would have been a significant blow.

Given the team's issues along the offensive line, bringing back Monroe was at the top of the team's offseason list.

He played well in his limited time with the Ravens, anchoring the offensive line and giving the Ravens their best left tackle since Jonathan Ogden retired.

He didn't really stand out because the rest of the line's poor play made everyone look bad, but with the Ravens focusing on strengthening that area in 2014, that should change.

Monroe should only play better now that he can get settled in with the Ravens and participate in all of the offseason camps.

The Ravens will now likely turn their attention toward Corey Graham and Jacoby Jones, as well as potentially finding that elusive slot receiver who can move the chains, which was something the team's top brass talked about quite a bit at the end-of-season press conference.

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