The Ravens have reached a 5-year deal with tight end Dennis Pitta.
The deal is reportedly worth $32 million, according to The Baltimore Sun. That would put him among the NFL's top-10 tight ends in compensation.
The agreement keeps Pitta, a pending unrestricted free agent, from hitting the open market in 11 days. And it maintains an essential part of the new offense the Ravens are building.
"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."
Pitta, 28, has proven to be a favorite target of quarterback Joe Flacco. The two have a chemistry that was sorely missed in the Ravens offense for much of last year. Pitta is one of the Ravens' most reliable receivers and a big red-zone threat.
After missing 12 games last year due to a fractured hip, Pitta returned to catch 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown in four games.
"It was obvious when Dennis was out last year that we really missed him," Head Coach John Harbaugh* *said. "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."
General Manager Ozzie Newsome also expressed how essential Pitta is to Baltimore.
"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."
Pitta will be relied on heavily in Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's new offense. The passing game frequently relies on play-action passing with the tight end dragging across the field.
Kubiak's tight ends in Houston and Denver, where he coached previously, saw a lot of passes come their way. Owen Daniels was a two-time Pro Bowler in 2008 and 2012. He caught 63 passes for 768 yards and three touchdowns in 2012.
Shannon Sharpe had some of the best years of his career under Kubiak, twice going over 1,000 yards and putting up more than 750 receiving yards in the other two years when Kubiak was calling plays.
Kubiak is already impressed with what he's seen from Pitta on film.
"I remember studying Dennis, and I'm very impressed with him as a player," Kubiak said when he first took the job. "I know he went through a tough year this year with getting injured, but that position has always been a big part of our offense. I'm sure it won't be any different."
Pitta's best season came in 2012 when he caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns.
With the Pitta deal done, the Ravens will presumably turn their focus towards other pending free agents on the roster, such as left tackle Eugene Monroe. .