A lot of us had a feeling this day was coming, but now it’s official. The Ravens inked TE Dennis Pitta to a five year deal worth $32M. Details of the bonus and yearly breakdown still to come. Gary Kubiak will be excited to have the reliable pass catching tight end at his disposal in his west coast offense.
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Pitta missed 12 games in 2013 after suffering a broken hip during training camp. Obviously the Ravens brass has evaluated him physically; feel like he’s not a risk for further injury, and are not bothered by the fact that he’ll have more years over 30 years old on this contract than under. In Pitta’s defense, he gets a late start like all BYU alums that do two years of mission work. He doesn’t have the wear and tear that most 28 year olds have. Pitta will be 29 when the 2014 season gets underway.
A $6.4M average annual value for Pitta is a very fair deal considering his situation. It’s the top third of all TEs for 2014 as of today. You can add Jimmy Graham to this list by Monday as well as all indications point to the Saints franchising their star tight end. Whether he gets awarded the TE tag is another story.
Looking at the comparisons, the Ravens got it right. Pitta is a better TE than Owen Daniels, so he wasn’t going to settle for a 5/$27M type deal. Heath Miller is coveted by Pittsburgh as a great run blocker as well as pass catcher. Pitta can block, but we love him as a receiver a lot more. No surprise Pitta falls right in there with him.
It’s a very good thing that the Ravens and Dennis Pitta came to this agreement. The possible franchise tag fiasco could have been a messy situation. Getting this deal done without the aid of third party’s getting involved is great. It’s practically avoiding arbitration which in baseball, or any business is always good.
Double-Eight’s production was on the rise each year prior to his injury shortened 2013. After playing second fiddle to Ed Dickson in 2010, Pitta posted 40 catches (2.5 RPG) for 405 yards and three TDs in 2011. 2012 brought 61 catches (3.8 RPG) for 669 yards and seven TDs and a Super Bowl ring. In his four games in 2013 he managed to raise his RPG up to 5.0 with 20 catches.
Questions moving forward:
- Ed Dickson. Remember that guy? He’s a FA to be as well. Are the Ravens moving on without him as Pitta and two practice squad players, Matt Furstenburg and Nathan Overbay are the only TEs on the roster?
- Will the Ravens still target a TE like UNC’s Eric Ebron with their first pick in the draft? You have to think they intended on signing Pitta all along. Yet they still met with TE’s Ebron, Jace Amaro, and C.J. Fiedorowicz (projected third or fourth round) at the combine. A duel TE threat isn’t a bad thing, as long as one isn’t rotting away in a jail cell and the other partying too hard to properly rehab.
- The last two on the list of priorities are Eugene Monroe and Daryl Smith. Will Monroe be franchised for around $11.5M, or will they get a deal done similar to Pitta?
- Is Daryl Smith in their plans to return next year with Arthur Brown the only ILB under contract right now? (Josh Bynes is an ERFA, probably retained).