SATURDAY, 8:20am: The Ravens officially announced the contract restructuring, according to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com.
“Dennis wants to continue his playing career, and we want to give him that opportunity,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said (via Mink). “We have reworked his contract, and we’re excited to help him with his comeback. Everyone here wants Dennis to succeed.”
“I am thankful for this opportunity to continue my career,” added Pitta. “I’m excited to get back to work with my teammates and for this organization. Physically, I feel great and am ready to begin building toward a successful 2016 season.”
FRIDAY, 7:52am: Pitta’s base salary has been reduced from $5MM to $1MM, resulting in a cap hit of $3.2MM for 2016, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle adds (via Twitter) that the tight end’s new deal has injury waivers for 2016, 2017, and 2018.
TUESDAY, 10:55am: Just hours after a report indicated that tight end Dennis Pitta had decided to continue his NFL career, Pitta and the Ravens have agreed to a restructured contract that will reduce his cap number, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Zrebiec adds that Pitta could officially sign the new deal as early as today.
[RELATED: Pitta to continue NFL playing career]
Pitta, who has missed the majority of the last two seasons due to major hip injuries, consulted with doctors before making his decision to attempt a comeback in 2016. He’ll be in attendance at Baltimore’s offseason program in the hopes of making it back on the field this summer. Although he has received the go-ahead from medical professionals, he’ll still need to be cleared by the Ravens’ team doctors, who advised him last fall not to return to the field in 2015.
The 30-year-old had been owed a $5MM base salary this season, with an overall cap hit of $7.2MM. However, that salary was non-guaranteed, and considering Pitta has not appeared in an NFL game since September of 2014, it was unrealistic not to expect some sort of adjustment to his contract.
Although specific details on Pitta’s reworked deal aren’t yet known, Zrebiec tweets that the veteran tight end will have the opportunity to make back some of that $5MM via incentives. If the restructured contract includes per-game roster bonuses, they won’t initially count against Baltimore’s cap for 2016 — since Pitta didn’t play in any games last season, those bonuses would be viewed as not likely to be earned.
In addition to proving that he’s healthy, Pitta will also have to beat out some competition in training camp to earn a spot on the Ravens’ 53-man roster. Recent draftees Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, and Nick Boyle are in the tight end mix, along with free agent signee Ben Watson, among others. Boyle will start the 2016 season on the suspended list.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.