Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta is set to become a free agent in the offseason, so it will be interesting to see how the team decides to go about handling his future. Recently, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome had said that the team would make re-signing Pitta a top priority, but what happens if the two sides can not agree to terms?
That is when the franchise tag would come in to play.
While the decision has not yet been made, a recent report indicates that it could be a real possibility.
The Ravens have shown a willingness to use the franchise tag, which essentially binds an unrestricted free agent to the team for at least one more year on a set salary. They’ve used it seven times in team history, most recently with running back Ray Rice (2012) and nose tackle Haloti Ngata (2011). In all but one of those instances, the designated franchise player has ultimately agreed to a long-term deal to stay with the team.
Obviously, that’s the hope with Pitta, whose importance to the offense and to quarterback Joe Flacco was never more evident than it was this season when the tight end missed the first 12 games after sustaining a dislocated and fractured right hip. Pitta returned and caught 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown in four games, and was targeted 33 times by Flacco.
Pitta and Flacco are good friends and the tight end has expressed his desire to remain in Baltimore, so it will be interesting to see whether or not he will be able to get his wish.