The Baltimore Ravens and TE Dennis Pittahave reached an agreement on a five-year contract, general manager/executive vice president Ozzie Newsome announced Friday afternoon. A four-year NFL veteran, Pitta was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.
Pitta will travel to Baltimore this weekend, and the Ravens will hold a press conference on Monday, March 3 (exact time to be determined).
"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," Newsome stated. "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."
Originally selected by Baltimore in the fourth round (114th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft, Pitta has played in 47 career games (eight starts), producing 122 receptions for 1,244 yards (10.2 avg.) and 11 touchdowns. In six playoff games (three starts), Pitta has registered 21 catches for 233 yards (11.1 avg.) and four touchdowns.
Despite missing the first 12 contests of the 2013 campaign after suffering a dislocated/fractured hip on the opening day of training camp, Pitta returned to action for the final four games (one start). He then posted 20 receptions for 169 yards and one touchdown.
"It was obvious when Dennis was out last year that we really missed him," head coach John Harbaughsaid. "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 had a career year during the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl-winning campaign, posting personal bests in catches (61), receiving yards (669) and touchdowns (seven). In Baltimore's postseason run, he had 14 receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns, including one score in three of the Ravens' four playoff victories. Pitta's seven touchdowns during the 2012 regular season tied Todd Heap (2005) for most by a Ravens' tight end in a single-season history.
"I could not be more excited to remain a Baltimore Raven," Pitta stated. "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."