One of Joe Flacco's favorite weapons is returning to Baltimore.
Tight end Dennis Pitta, Flacco's security blanket during the Ravens' Super Bowl run in 2012, reportedly agreed to a five-year extension with the team Friday. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun was the first to report the news. Multiple reports indicate the deal is worth $32 million.
Pitta suffered what was thought to be a season-ending hip injury in late July. His presence was sorely missed, as Chris Burke noted in the Audibles AFC North free agency primer. "The Ravens had a glimpse of life without Pitta last season -- and it was ugly. Without their top tight end for 12 games, the Ravens struggled mightily on offense, as Flacco had no real luck replicating the rapport he has with Pitta." The tight end did return to the field in Week 14, finishing the season with 20 catches, for 169 yards and a touchdown.
There were questions about whether Pitta would be franchised, and what his designation would be under such a scenario. Both Pitta and Saints TE Jimmy Graham were expected to argue that they should be listed as wide receivers, not tight ends, for franchise purposes. The difference between the wide receiver tag and the tight end tag is $4.8 million. Pitta's deal puts him right in the ballpark of what the tight end franchise tag would have offered. The Ravens are expected to now shift their focus to tackle Eugene Monroe, who is drawing interest from several tackle-needy teams, including the Cardinals and Dolphins.