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Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta has signed his second-round restricted tender for the 2013 season.
It was only a formality, but the tender will pay the fourth-year tight end $2.02 million this season before he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next winter. General manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens have already expressed interest in signing the tight end to a long-term contract, but that task often becomes difficult when a player enters his final season before free agency.
In 2012, Pitta caught a career-high 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns as he continued to be one of quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite targets. The 27-year-old added to those numbers in the Ravens’ run to a Super Bowl title, making 14 receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns in four postseason games.
With the offseason trade of Anquan Boldin and the Ravens not yet bringing in a veteran receiver to replace him, many have speculated that Pitta will see more time lining up in the slot and will have an expanded role in helping to replace Boldin’s production. Such a plan would certainly help Baltimore’s passing attack but would also complicate efforts to re-sign Pitta to an extension prior to the end of the 2013 season.
In other news, the Ravens announced the signings of four rookie free agents: wide receiver Rashaad Carter from Tusculum, cornerback Moe Lee from Utah, safety Gary Walker from Idaho, and outside linebacker Meshak Williams from Kansas State. Williams, of course, was a teammate of second-round linebacker Arthur Brown.
Baltimore also announced the release of wide receiver Tori Gurley, who played at South Carolina.