The Baltimore Ravens didn’t come into the free agency process with a whole lot of money, but they made a ton of moves to create the room necessary to make some improvements to their defensive roster that they thought would give them a better chance of returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
The front office dumped a ton of contracts, including Elvis Dumervil, Shareece Wright, Kendrick Lewis, and Lardarius Webb, and they were all set to release Jeremy Zuttah as well before landing a late trading partner that let them improve their position in the sixth round.
They recently made yet another move to create a bit of cap space, this time renegotiating the contract—once again—of tight end Dennis Pitta, who finally returned to the football field this past season after spending essentially the past few years out of the game with what was believed to be a career-threatening hip injury.
Pitta, who recorded a career-high 86 receptions last season, signed a healthy contract extension with the Ravens after he helped them win the Super Bowl following the 2012 season, but he struggled to stay on the field since then due to a number of injuries.
In order to give himself an opportunity to make the team, Pitta agreed to a $4 million pay cut last season. Now he has agreed to cut down the salary of the final two years on his deal for the same purposes of hoping to remain on the 53-man roster.
According to Jeff Zrebiec, Pitta has agreed to take a $2.5 million per-season pay cut over the course of the next two years in a move that will save the Ravens some cap space and make it more likely that the veteran tight end is able to stick around. Previously he was regarded as an obvious target for a cap casualty.
How did he get spared for so long while they dumped several other players? Zrebiec writes that the agreement was already reached as early as two full weeks ago. He only officially signed the new contract, however, this week.
His new contract also includes injury waivers over the course of the final two seasons, which is an understandable precaution for the Ravens considering how his big contract has ended up playing out, through no fault of either party.
The Ravens now have roughly $7 million in salary cap space according to NFLPA records, which really isn’t all that much at all when considering predictable expenditures to come, including the incoming draft class, the final two players on the 53-man roster, the practice squad, and an in-season monetary security cache.