Potential suitors for tight end Dennis Pitta will be prepared to pounce if the Ravens and Pitta cannot reach agreement on a new contract. The Falcons, the Packers, and the Patriots are three teams that could be nice fits for Pitta if he ever hits the free agent market March 11.
The Ravens hope that never happens. They are trying to sign Pitta to a long-term deal before the March 3 deadline to use the franchise tag.
However, using the franchise tag on Pitta is complicated. He may challenge his designation as a tight end, saying he should be classified as a wide receiver because he frequently lines up in the slot. The franchise tag number for wide receivers will be at least $11.5 million, compared to $6.9 million for tight ends.
If the Ravens neither franchise Pitta, nor sign him to a new deal, he should have no shortage of options.
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The Falcons have lost future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, who has retired and taken a television job with CBS. Pitta in the middle of an offense that include wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, catching passes from Matt Ryan, would be a nice look.
The Packers are uncertain about the future of Jermichael Finley, after a serious neck injury last season. While Finley hopes to play again, Pitta would be insurance and give the Packers another weapon even if Finley returns 100 percent.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been plagued by injuries, and the Patriots need to upgrade their receiving corps. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would fall in love with Pitta’s talents in no time.
The Ravens have made it clear they want Pitta and intend to keep him. However, if Pitta tests the market, it should not take long for his phone to ring.