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Friday, February 28, 2014
Dennis Pitta agrees to 5-year deal

By Jamison Hensley
ESPN.com

The Baltimore Ravens reached a five-year deal worth $32 million with tight end Dennis Pitta, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The agreement comes three days before the Ravens would have had to place the franchise tag on Pitta in order to keep him off the free-agent market. The Ravens, who will hold a news conference Monday, announced the deal Friday afternoon.

"Dennis creates a number of mismatch problems for defenses," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "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."

Dennis Pitta
Tight end Dennis Pitta, an integral part of Baltimore's passing game, and the Ravens have agreed to a five-year contract, sources say.

Pitta was considered the Ravens' top unrestricted free agent. He's become quarterback Joe Flacco's security blanket, especially on third downs and in the red zone. And at 28, Pitta is hitting the prime of his career.

In 2012, he set career highs in catches (61), receiving yards (669) and touchdowns (seven). During the Ravens' Super Bowl run that season, Pitta had touchdowns in three of the team's four playoff games.

Durability has been the biggest question mark with Pitta. He has sustained at least three concussions in his four seasons, and he missed three-quarters of 2013 because of a dislocated hip. He played in the Ravens' final four games, catching 20 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown.

A fourth-round pick in 2010, Pitta has been the Ravens' most productive tight end since Todd Heap. All three of the team's tight ends in 2013 -- Pitta, Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark -- were set to become unrestricted free agents March 11. The Ravens used a second-round tender on Pitta last season, when he was a restricted free agent, paying him $2.02 million.