The Dennis Pitta era has officially come to a sad end with the Ravens releasing the veteran tight end with an injury waiver on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old dislocated his right hip for the third time in a four-year period during last Friday’s voluntary organized team activity, leaving his career in grave jeopardy after he had worked for nearly two full years to return to action in 2016. Pitta’s release was not a shock as he had signed an injury waiver, which absolved the Ravens of any financial responsibility in the event of a re-injury to his hip.
His release saves the organization $2.5 million in salary cap space minus the cap figure of the player replacing him in the “rule of 51” rankings. The Ravens could have elected to wait for Pitta to officially announce his retirement, but it’s apparent that they wanted to create the additional cap space with their reported interest in recently-available veteran wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Eric Decker.
A fourth-round selection out of Brigham Young in the 2010 draft, Pitta finishes his time in Baltimore ranked fifth on the Ravens’ career receptions list (224), 12th in receiving yards (2,098), and 11th in touchdown receptions (13). Those numbers would have been even higher on the all-time franchise list had he not missed nearly three full seasons because of injuries. Pitta’s best work came in 2012 when he caught seven touchdowns during the regular season and added three more in the Ravens’ postseason run that culminated with a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
Despite most expecting his career to be over after his second hip injury in 2014, Pitta surprisingly returned to action last year to lead all NFL tight ends with 86 catches and caught his first two touchdowns since the 2013 season.