Wake-up caw: Should Ravens tag Monroe?

By signing tight end Dennis Pitta, the Baltimore Ravens can use the franchise tag on offensive tackle Eugene Monroe. But should they do it?

The Ravens have until 4 p.m. Monday to make a decision. Monroe is expected to draw interest from other teams, including the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, when free agency begins March 11. But putting the tag on the Ravens would cost them $11.654 million in 2014.

John Eisenberg, of the team's official website, thinks the Ravens have more flexibility to do so after the team made salary-cap cuts and the cap increased to $133 million for this season.

"I’m much more open to the idea than I was a few weeks ago," Eisenberg wrote. "Left tackle is no place to cut corners, and Monroe is a solid option."

Clifton Brown, of Comcast SportsNet, believes there is a benefit to putting the tag on Monroe.

"Using the franchise tag on Monroe would be expensive for the Ravens, but it would buy them more time to work out a long-term deal," Brown wrote.

From my perspective, Monroe isn't worth the tag. The Ravens can potentially sign these players with that $11 million this season. There are too many needs to use that chunk of cap space on Monroe.

And, for those asking, it would cost the Ravens $9.654 million to use the tag on defensive tackle Arthur Jones.

Here's the rest of your wake-up caw ...

  • Matt Birk is still convinced that Gino Gradkowski is still the long-term answer for the Baltimore Ravens at center. Gradkowski struggled last season in his first season as the Ravens' starting center. He took over for Birk, who had been the starter for the past four seasons. They were teammates on the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl champion team. "He is the guy, no question,” Birk said of Gradkowski, via the team's official website. “It’s a process. It’s a journey. I think the best thing Gino has going for him is his attitude and his character. That comes through when you’re playing football. As a Ravens fan myself, I don’t worry about Gino.”

  • The Ravens have told middle linebacker Daryl Smith, their leading tackler last season, that he’s a priority for them to re-sign, according to The Baltimore Sun. But the sides aren't close to striking a deal, the paper reported. Smith, 31, earned $2.1 million last year in his first season with the Ravens.

  • The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel put together his list of five free-agent options for the Ravens that are probably too good to be true: Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd, Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack and New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.