Pitta has agreed to a restructured deal to remain with the Ravens, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports. Entering the free agency period, there was a chance that Pitta could have been a salary cap casualty to make room for Baltimore's other signings on the other side of the ball. However, Pitta has agreed to restructure in order to remain with the Ravens for at least one more season. Pitta was the third-most targeted tight end in the league last season with 121. He ultimately reeled in 86 receptions for 729 yards as he primarily worked close to the line of scrimmage as quarterback Joe Flacco's safety valve. With Pitta back in the fold for Baltimore, it drives down the values of Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, and Ben Watson.
Pitta may be asked to accept a pay cut for a second straight offseason, BaltimoreRavens.com reports. After missing most of 2014 and all of 2015 with hip injuries, Pitta bounced back with a shockingly productive age-31 season, catching 86 passes for 729 yards and a pair of scores. His surprisingly large role was largely a product of injuries, with fellow tight ends Ben Watson (Achilles) and Crockett Gillmore (shoulder) combining for just seven appearances. Pitta and Watson may be asked to take pay cuts or else be released, as Baltimore has some younger (and cheaper) options at the position in the form of Gillmore, Nick Boyle and 2015 second-round selection Maxx Williams. Pitta accepted a salary reduction to stay with the team in 2016, only to recoup most of the money through performance incentives. He's scheduled for a $7.7 million cap hit in 2017.
Pitta led his team with 11 catches for 91 yards on 16 targets in Sunday's season finale against the Bengals. Pitta was heavily involved in the offense down the stretch, finishing with 19 catches for 166 over the season's final two weeks. He set new career highs with 86 receptions and 729 yards, but found the end zone only twice. Still, this was a terrific bounce-back campaign considering the 31-year-old tight end missed all of 2015 due to a dislocated hip.
Pitta hauled in eight of 11 targets for 75 yards in Sunday's 31-27 loss to the Steelers. The veteran tight end led the Ravens in receptions and targets on the afternoon, posting his best effort since Week 13 versus the Dolphins. Pitta hasn't made as many plays downfield this season as earlier in his career, when he'd yet to be felled by a pair of serious hip injuries. However, he's managed a personal best in receptions (75), and needs just 32 yards in the finale against the Bengals to eclipse the career-high 669 receiving yards he compiled back in the 2012 season.
Pitta caught both of his targets for a total of 16 yards in Sunday's win over the Eagles. Baltimore went to the air just 30 times Sunday after attempting 35 or more passes in five consecutive contests, which resulted in several Raven pass catchers seeing a decreased target volume. Even so, it was still surprising for Pitta to see just two passes thrown his way Sunday. He's now two weeks removed from his nine-catch (11 targets) outing that netted a pair of touchdowns, and that outing continues to look more and more like an aberration. He has a total of six catches for 34 yards on seven targets in his last two games combined. Although Pitta's won't likely be left out of the game plan in Week 16 the way he was against Philadelphia, the idea of him seeing double-digit targets in a single game again seems far-fetched.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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