The Baltimore Ravens cleared a few million dollars in cap space yesterday by cutting ties with fullback Vonta Leach and linebacker Jameel McClain, with neither cap casualty coming as the slightest surprise. They also cleared up some money earlier in the offseason by agreeing to a new deal with star outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who took a crucial paycut that has allowed the Ravens to give more competitive deals to their top three free agents. Solid left tackle Eugene Monroe is a priority to re-sign on a porous offensive line after being a trade acquisition early last season, Dennis Pitta is a priority as one of the few weapons around franchise quarterback Joe Flacco, and Daryl Smith is a priority as the quarterback of the defense who had a tremendous 2013 campaign on a one-year deal.
Thanks to the money they cleared up yesterday, the Ravens have locked up one of their priorities, as league sources tell the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson that the Ravens have signed Dennis Pitta to a five-year deal. We won’t get a better idea of how good/bad this deal is for the Ravens without financial info, but it would be difficult to envision locking up a tight end of Pitta’s versatility and pass-catching ability as a poor move. They would have to seriously overpay for his services in order for this move to be criticized, and I highly doubt that ends up being the case; Ozzie Newsome doesn’t overpay for skill position players, especially at this point in time.
Pitta is Flacco’s most reliable receiver, and he hauled in 61 passes and seven touchdowns in his breakout 2012 season. Re-signing Pitta is big news for the Ravens and allows them to breathe a little bit easier, but they still need to find a reliable No. 2 wideout for Flacco to pair up with the playmaking Torrey Smith.
Update: The NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports that Pitta will make $32 million over those five years, so this is also a great deal financially.