Could another team steal RFA Dennis Pitta away?

Pitta TD SBXLVII

With the recent acquisitions of pass rushing specialist Elvis Dumervil and safety Michael Huff, the collective panic level of Ravens Nation has subsided a bit.

The 2013 draft is less than a month away (April 25) and the roller coaster ride is in mid-climb – but could the “sky is falling” mentality set in once again with a major downfall potentially approaching?

Tight end Dennis Pitta’s future (and his income level) remains the only major question surrounding the Ravens prior to the draft. Pitta was given a second-round tender by the Ravens, which will pay him $2.023 million fully guaranteed in 2013. If Pitta doesn’t sign an extension, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2014.

Pitta’s extremely consistent play has ensured him of an increase in his pay beyond the more than $2 million he’s slated to receive this upcoming season. While it would cost a team a second-round pick, creating a temping offer for Pitta to leave Baltimore could be easier than it seems. Pitta has until April 19th to negotiate with teams before having to officially sign his restricted free agent tender.

After the signing of Huff, the Ravens have less than $4 million in cap space remaining and that doesn’t account for the roughly $1.5 million they’ll need to sign their draft picks. Any suitor with some flexibility in their salary cap could make Pitta an offer that the Ravens simply couldn’t match by throwing more money in the front end of their offer – something that Ozzie Newsome and company would have a tough time swallowing.

Extending Pitta is essentially like an insurance policy to the six-year, $120 million contract given to quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco and Pitta’s friendship off the field is important to their chemistry, but with football being the business it is, their weekly pizza parties may not necessarily be worth $2 million extra per year to Pitta – especially because the NFL is often referred to as Not For Long and the chance to make millions of dollars to play football don’t come often.

For Pitta to sign with another team, it’ll have to be his own choice – he won’t leave against his will a la Anquan Boldin or Bernard Pollard. Chances are that he’ll receive a fair offer from the Ravens and continue his local friendship and development with Flacco. However, football is a business and if someone does find Pitta to be worth a second-round value and a decent contract, it may be hard for him to turn down such a pay raise.

Teams rarely poach RFA’s from other squads. However, it does happen sometimes. Close to home in the AFC North, the New England Patriots have been rumored to be targeting Pittsburgh WR Emmanuel Sanders in recent weeks.

As fans search for reasons why Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers, extending Pitta is partially to blame. Why should the Ravens have paid Boldin $6 million per season when they desperately need to hold onto Pitta, who is younger, more consitant and is found in the end zone more often?

To me, it seems like a no brainier.

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About Kris Jones

Kris Jones
Kris - or "Goob" as he's widely known - has turned an obsession into a career. As a media member by day and super fan by night, he reports from the Under Armour Performance Center twice per week and brings Ravens news from a fan's perspective. His popular YouTube series...more

10 Raves on “Could another team steal RFA Dennis Pitta away?

  1. Joe on said:

    I think the team most likely to make a play on Pitta is the Jets or Bills…

    I looked on a fan forum and the majority of them are unwilling to part with a 2nd round pick for Pitta. That’s not to say the Bills FO wouldn’t do it, but I think if something was going to happen with him, it would’ve happened by now. The TE market demand has been low…see Fred Davis, who had ACL injury concerns, but ended up having to accept a 1 year deal from the Redskins after all was said and done.

  2. Tgun42 on said:

    As much as I love Pitta I would take a second and use that draft pick and the extra million dollors or so cap space. We can get a great TE in the third and fourth round or lower. Its win/win if you ask me. WE keep him, Flacco has his go to guy. We loose him, save money, get another 2 that we can leverage and possible trade down to get a starting LT and draft andother TE with one of the other 12 picks we would have.

  3. Rumor Ray on said:

    “I looked on a fan forum and the majority of them are unwilling to part with a 2nd round pick for Pitta. That’s not to say the Bills FO wouldn’t do it,”

    Thank GOD the FO does the Deals for the Ravens … If they did what the fan boards wanted we would be in big trouble! I say to fans that doubt the FO to look at the teams Record… It speaks for itself.

    I sure would not want Ozzie to tell me how to run a Credit Department so I would never act like I know his job.

    No way Pitta leaves the Ravens … That is from me a FAN however if the Wizard of Baltimore says so then In Oz I Trust

  4. The Scarlet Raven on said:

    That’s true I believe that’s why they set it up like that. Ravens will only go but so hi that’s why the 2nd pic is there deterrence. It’s looks he will stay a Raven and joes favorite target will be there. I see Pitta training hard to put on muscle and speed but keep his hands.

  5. Jerry M on said:

    Yeah It’s WIN/WIN either way but there’s something special about Pitta I don’t think we will find another like him in the draft but maybe who knows. All I know is he is my favorite player on our roster right now and I would like to see him stay and prosper into an even better TE then he is now. If he could block a LIL better he would be unmatched.

  6. ravensean509@gmail.com on said:

    Two thoughts, RFA “poaching” seems to virtually never happen like there’s a gentlemen’s agreement not to do it. We’ve tendered people as attractive (or more) than pitta with the 2nd tier and gotten away with it. Second thought is never underestimate the value of a draft pick. Remember Terrell Owens went for a 2nd, Marshall Faulk for a 2nd+ a 5th, etc. It’s just a huge part of salary cap strategy. Cheap, hopefully, quality labor with restricted rights to leave. As good as dennis is, i don’t think too many teams would part with the pick and a resulting fairly major contract…………………..

  7. Mill on said:

    Honestly, I don’t see it. If Gonzalez had retired, I could certainly see the Falcons pulling a move like this. I honestly don’t see a team giving up an early second round pick to get him. Everybody in the top 10- 15 picks is out. If a pick is given up it will be the 2nd half of the second round.

    Pick 16 is the Steelers- it won’t happen
    Giants at 17- They lost Bennett so the need is there but they don’t have the cap space to do a front loaded deal like that.
    Bears at 18- They signed Bennett from the Giants and they also don’t have the space for a front loaded deal.
    Redskins at 19- No!
    Vikings at 20- No need, no space.
    Bengals at 21- Plenty of space but no need and a historically cheap owner. Not likely.
    Dolphins at 22- Just signed Dustin Keller, would have the space though.
    Packers at 23- Possible with Finley’s future in the air but they seem more focused on resigning Rodgers and Matthews.
    Seahawks at 24- This will be their first pick in the draft and not a ton of space to do a front loaded deal.
    Texans at 25- No need, no space.
    Bronco’s at 26- They could try just for revenge. But they don’t have much cap space either.
    Patriots- Not gonna happen.
    Falcons- They have the need for a younger heir to Gonzalez but they don’t have the space to do a front loaded deal.
    49ers- Interesting prospect because they do have an earlier second round pick, so they can afford to lose a 2nd. But the cap space is not there to do an unmatchable first year.
    Ravens- Well…..

    Really looking at the entire 2nd round the only team that looks even remotely reasonable to make a move like this is the Bucs with the 11th pick. They have the space and a not top 10 pick but I still think it would be to high to give up for Pitta. (Not that Pitta isn’t worth it, teams just don’t trade high picks like that on the RFA market) If the Ravens were going to lose a player in RFA, it would have been Webb last year because good young corners are harder to come by than TE’s.

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