In this dead season, I thought I would start a discussion. Dennis Pitta passed Ed Dickson on the depth chart last year, putting up near Pro Bowl numbers with 61 catches for 669 yards, 7 touchdowns. Barring a total regression, it is going to cost us a bunch of money to lock him up long term. He came into his own as Joe Flacco's safety valve, making him a must-keep player for the Baltimore Ravens, and is his best friend too.
Ed Dickson, however looks like the Ravens might have to let him go. I think an argument could be made that they should try to lock him up long term this year, if it is at the right price. Ed Dickson regressed last year, battling injuries and Pitta's emergence to put up only 21 catches for 225 yards and 0 touchdowns, following a solid sophomore season where he was our #1 TE with 54 catches for 528 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is undoubtedly the better blocker of the two tight ends. What is to say he cannot have a bounce back year and price himself out of range?
Dickson has not signed his tender yet, and he has until June 15th to sign it, before the Ravens have the option to rescind it, although they have never done that before (they have never had a player not sign his tender before then). Under the Article 9, Section 2(f)(i) of the CBA, if Dickson has not signed his tender by June 15th, the Ravens can withdraw Dickson’s RFA tender of $1.303M and instead apply a new tender ("June 15 Tender") which equals 110% of his prior year’s salary. In such case, if the Ravens were to choose to do so, the new tender amount for Dickson would be $836,918.
Ed Dickson really has no leverage, and therefore it is baffling why he has not signed the tender. Maybe he is hoping to sign a long-term deal before then. If the price is reasonable, it could be a good move. He is undervalued right now based on his regression, and this is a league where having two solid tight ends in very important.
The question is, at what price is it worth it to keep him? I would think they should keep him up to $3.5 million a year. For example, a 4 year, $13.5 million contract, half guaranteed. Who knows if he would take that, but that is a gamble I think would be worthwhile for the Ravens to take. You cannot pick up a starting WR in free agency for that money; look what we had to pay to lure Jacoby Jones- 2 years, $9 million. He has definitely been worth it for Baltimore, but I would argue with the cheap labor they have at WR, the team can afford to put a little more money into the TE position. GM Ozzie Newsome and company definitely saw something they like in Ed Dickson, and he has definitely shown flashes. I think he hasn't had time to come into his own fully yet, and that at the end of this year he will pull in more money than that on the free agent market. So I would offer him a deal like that. The question is, would he take that deal if offered it today? Or would he bet on himself like Flacco did?