June 7, 2017
Baltimore Ravens Release Tight End Dennis Pitta

The Baltimore Ravens released starting tight end Dennis Pitta earlier this morning saving them $2.5 million in cap space. Pitta suffered his third severe hip injury in the last five years last week during non-contact OTAs causing the Ravens to pull the plug on the recently signed tight end. Pitta signed a five-year, $32 million extension in 2014 and led all NFL tight ends in receptions last season with 86. Pitta's injury history made this decision much easier for the Ravens' front office to move forward without him heading into next season. Even without a reliable option at tight end, the Ravens must have felt more comfortable with what they had instead of relying on an unhealthy Pitta.

Dennis Pitta missed 41 games through a three-year span that lasted from 2013-2015 because of an ailing hip injury that almost cost him his career back then. Despite the concern of many people, Pitta returned to football for the 2016 season and proved his doubters wrong. However, it does not seem likely that Pitta will be able to return to football after suffering the same injury as a few years back. At the age of 31, Pitta would have to play through the pain for the next several years before being able to call himself completely healthy again, and the desire to keep playing might not be as strong as it was a few years back. Jamison Hensley of ESPN wrote about Pitta's injury and quoted him before the 2016 season about the risk he was putting his hip in just to continue playing.

"You could talk all day about what the risks are. There will always be people that say I'm crazy and don't understand why I would put myself at risk. But to those people you say, We all put ourselves at risk playing football."
Baltimore Ravens quarterback drops back for a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals [Image by John Grieshop/Getty Image]

With the injury and release of Dennis Pitta, the Baltimore Ravens offense looks to be in shambles as they look ahead to training camp in just over a month. Two of quarterback Joe Flacco's top targets from last season will not be with the team in 2017, Pitta to injury and future Hall of Famer Steve Smith to retirement. With the team addressing most of their needs on the defensive side on the ball during this year's draft, the Ravens must now rely on Joe Flacco and the run game to have any chance at success during the upcoming football season. The only hope the team has left now for help on offense is for another team to release a veteran receiver, and the Ravens take a chance on him.

The most interesting name to watch as of late is the former Kansas City Chief and Philadelphia Eagles receiver, Jeremy Maclin. Maclin was released by the Chiefs last Friday night after just two seasons with the team. He has now started taking visits to other teams around the league including a visit tomorrow to the Baltimore Ravens. The release of Pitta could have something to do with the team's interest in signing Jeremy Maclin. Many teams around the league would rather have Jeremy Maclin over Dennis Pitta on their offense due to Maclin's explosiveness. Outside of Mike Wallace, the Ravens' have not had a deep threat receiver to give Joe Flacco more options on the outside. Connor Orr of the NFL website wrote about Jeremy Maclin's next planned trip to visit Baltimore and how it could affect the Ravens' offense.

"In Baltimore, a far more threadbare situation at wideout could motivate the Ravens to make a strong push. Maclin would reunite with former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who holds the same position with the Ravens."

Even with a recent push from the Buffalo Bills and Maclin's former teammate LeSean McCoy, the best fit for him may be in Baltimore reuniting with his former offensive coordinator. The injury to Dennis Pitta may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Baltimore Ravens after all if they can sign Jeremy Maclin.

[Featured Image by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]