Is market cooling for Monroe?

Is market cooling for Monroe?
March 9, 2014, 11:15 am
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(Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)

As the Ravens work to craft a deal to retain left tackle Eugene Monroe, the Miami Dolphins are among the suitors believed to be one of the Ravens' top competitors for Monroe's services.

But it's possible the market for Monroe is cooling.

According to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, the Dolphins are making calls to a slew of left tackles on the market -- in addition to Monroe, that includes Branden Albert, Rodger Saffold and Jared Veldheer. Albert, the former first-round pick of the Chiefs, "appears to be very, very high on Miami's wish list," according to Jackson.

He also said the Dolphins are very interested in Saffold as a possible tackle or guard.

"Two industry officials said they believe the Dolphins would love to sign Albert as their left tackle and sign Saffold as a guard," Jackson wrote. "But Miami would have to pay substantially to achieve that.

In the meantime, the Dolphins also have reached out to Monroe and to Veldheer, who are both natural left tackles. And they haven't ruled out signing Saffold as a left tackle if they don't sign Albert."

All of which indicates Monroe might not be the first or even the second choice in Miami.

Monroe is widely considered one of the top tackles on the pending free agent market. The Ravens, who traded two draft picks to Jacksonville for Monroe in October, declined to put the franchise tag on him and hoped to re-sign him, but now Monroe's agent is listening to other offers. The franchise tag for tackles would have cost about $11.6 million, and Monroe is reportedly looking for a deal in the range of $10 million a year.

The Arizona Cardinals are also considered suitors for Monroe. But they are also very interested in Albert. In fact, in a tweet that he later backtracked from, Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett referred to Albert as "my homie/new teammate. Also Newest member of bird gang."

Hmm... unrestricted free agents can't be signed until Tuesday. Did Dockett spill the beans that Albert is headed to Arizona? Or was it wishful thinking?

Dockett later tweeted that, " I can only hope and wish we get a player like Brandon. FYI.. We train together."

Either way, it wasn't Monroe he was talking about. It seems Monroe has dipped on the radar slightly, which could bode well for the Ravens' efforts to retain him.

Representatives for free agents can continue negotiating with teams for the next 48 hours, with free agency officially beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.