The Baltimore Ravens are bracing for the beginning of NFL free agency, and in preparation of the madness beginning, they are currently trying to clear cap space to utilize.
They have already cut safety Kendrick Lewis and cornerback Kyle Arrington to clear about five million dollars in space, and according to a report from the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, tight end Dennis Pitta has been approached about taking a pay cut in order to clear some more.
In an effort to open up more cap room, the Ravens have asked TE Dennis Pitta to take a pay cut. Nothing imminent on that front yet.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) March 8, 2017
The ‘nothing imminent’ qualifier makes it pretty clear what is about to happen here; either Pitta takes the pay cut or begin seeking employment elsewhere.
I recently wrote that the Ravens would be foolish to simply release Pitta after NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo stated that they may balk at his 5.5 million dollar cap charge for 2017. I still believe that, but if Pitta is flat out unwilling to renegotiate his salary, then the Ravens probably won’t have any qualms about moving on from the Flacco-favorite.
If Pitta isn't willing to take the proverbial haircut to stay with the franchise that has stuck by him through some pretty rough times, it is tough to gauge what exactly a player like him would command on the open market. Zrebiec had the same questions in a follow up to the initial report:
Pitta led all TEs in catches last year. His rapport with Flacco is well documented. He's also 31 w/the hip issues. Tough to gauge his market— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) March 8, 2017
Pitta is certainly a beloved figure in Baltimore, and is responsible for many of the more forgotten yet critically important catches in franchise history, including a deep catcj deep in Ravens territory on 3rd late in the famed “Mile-High miracle” game.
It is unfortunate health issues kept him off of the field for so long, and it would be even more unfortunate if his time in Baltimore comes to an abrupt close shortly after his triumphant return.
Here's to hoping the two sides can agree to an affordable deal that keeps “American Express” in purple and black through 2017 and beyond.