It’s only Feb. 28 and the Ravens have accomplished arguably their top personnel priority of the offseason.
Baltimore agreed to terms on a five-year contract with sure-handed tight end Dennis Pitta on Friday, according to The Sun. Pitta was slated to become an unrestricted free agent.
Update: The Ravens have officially announced the signing.
NFL Network’s Albert Breer is reporting the contract is worth about $32.5 million.
Pitta, 28, has developed into Joe Flacco’s favorite target, forming a chemistry the franchise quarterback was unable to find with others while Pitta missed the first 12 games last season following hip surgery.
Pitta was limited to four games by the dislocated and fractured hip in 2013, and finished with 20 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. In 2012, he set career highs with 61 receptions, 669 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches as a key figure on the Ravens’ Super Bowl team.
Keeping him in the fold is huge for a receiving corps that could look a bit different in 2014. Wideout Jacoby Jones and tight end Ed Dickson are also in line to become unrestricted free agents, leaving the Ravens with Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown as the only proven commodities under contract.
Pitta adds another top option to that group, and sets up the possibility for an impressive set of receivers with the potential addition of a marquee wideout, which general manager Ozzie Newsome is seeking.
Update II: The Ravens will hold a press conference Monday to officially announce Pitta’s signing.
But in the meantime, the team released statements from Newsome, Pitta and coach John Harbaugh.
Newsome: “Dennis creates a number of mismatch problems for defenses. He makes it tough on them, and because of that, he really helps out our wide receivers. Opponents have to always pay attention to where he lines up and where his routes take him. Dennis is also a big target with very good hands, and his presence in the red zone is very important to us.”
Harbaugh: “It was obvious when Dennis was out last year that we really missed him. We all admire how he fought back from the hip injury and helped us down the stretch. Having Dennis as a part of the Ravens now and in the future is exciting news for us.
“Dennis has a large catch radius and can snatch the ball in traffic. Not only is he a reliable player, but he is an outstanding person as well. Having a weapon like Dennis makes everyone on our offense better.”
Pitta: “I could not be more excited to remain a Baltimore Raven. There is no better organization or fan base in sports. To be given the opportunity to continue my career here is incredible. This organization drafted me and has always stood by me - especially during my difficult recovery last season - and for that, I am extremely grateful.”