Blindsided: Ravens owner surprisingly names Eugene Monroe the team's starting left tackle

"Nobody works out harder than he does," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in endorsing Eugene Monroe as the team's starting left tackle in 2016. David Banks/Getty Images

For those wanting the Baltimore Ravens to trade for Ryan Clady, that's looking like a pipe dream. For those thinking the Ravens will draft a left tackle in the first round, that seems like a long shot now.

Owner Steve Bisciotti delivered the biggest Ravens news of the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday, when he named disappointing Eugene Monroe the team's starting left tackle in 2016.

This is the most enthusiastic endorsement of Monroe this offseason and comes following lukewarm comments from general manager Ozzie Newsome. It was also just six hours before Bisciotti spoke that coach John Harbaugh told reporters there would be a competition at left tackle.

So imagine the reaction from reporters when Bisciotti was asked about Monroe's status.

"He is our left tackle going into next year," Bisciotti told The Baltimore Sun and the team's website. "You have to know what you get out of the guy, and Eugene has been a pretty durable player these last couple years. But nobody works out harder than he does. I just feel bad. I think a lot of the speculation about us moving on from him clearly comes down to the fact that he's been hurt a lot, because he's played pretty well when he's been in there."

Monroe didn't endear himself to the Ravens by missing 16 games (including what would've been the first playoff games of his career) after receiving $17.5 million guaranteed, and he only started and finished three games last season. Based on his 2015 salary, the Ravens paid Monroe $18,092 per snap.

He also didn't exactly smooth things over when he became the NFL's unofficial spokesman for a banned substance, saying the league needs to rethink its stance on marijuana and look at the drug's benefits as it relates to pain relief. In addition to tweeting repeatedly about marijuana research, Monroe donated $10,000 to the cause.

"My reaction is that those are his comments," Harbaugh said. "I promise you, he does not speak for the organization."

Monroe was considered a salary-cap cut candidate this offseason because of durability issues and because he had the highest base salary on the Ravens (after Joe Flacco's extension lowered his 2016 salary to $4 million). The 28-year-old is scheduled to make $6.5 million in 2016, which is $1 million more than any other player on the team. As a result, the Ravens could create $2.1 million in cap room by releasing him.

What works in Monroe's favor is Baltimore would have to carry $6.6 million in dead money if the team cut him. The Ravens want to avoid that situation after incurring $17 million in dead money last season after releasing running back Ray Rice ($9.5 million) and trading defensive tackle Haloti Ngata ($7.5 million).

Bisciotti and the Ravens obviously see value in Monroe, who said he made "major strides" from the previous season. Monroe was rated as the 14th-best left tackle in 2015 by Pro Football Focus.

"We've always been happy with him when he's on the field," Bisciotti said.