Posted February 17, 2014

If given franchise tag, Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta could claim to be receiver

NFL
Dennis Pitta caught 20 passes last season for the Ravens. (John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Dennis Pitta caught 20 passes in four games last season for the Ravens. (John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta will make either $6.7 million next season or $11.5 million if Baltimore uses its franchise tag on him.

The difference is whether Pitta will be considered a tight end or a wide receiver, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun.

Pitta, 28, ran 79.7 percent of his passing routes from the slot receiver position last season, which was the highest rate among qualifying tight ends, Zrebiec reported via Pro Football Focus.

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It’s widely assumed the agent for Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will file a grievance through the NFL Players Association claiming the same thing, Zrebiec reports. An arbitrator would then decide the case.

When given the franchise tag, players are paid the average of the top-5 paid players at their respective position. Teams can place the franchise tag on players beginning Monday.

“The whole grievance aspect would scare me,” said former NFL agent Joel Corry, who analyzes contracts and the salary cap for National Football Post. “You never know what’s going to be persuasive with the arbitrator. The team could think they’re on solid ground but the arbitrator might look at it differently. I wouldn’t want to take my chances on that decision. You really want to get that thing done, get [Pitta] on a long-term deal. That’s the safest course of action.”

Pitta played only four games last season after fracturing and dislocating his right hip in the preseason, but he returned to catch 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown on 33 targets.

Graham caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and led the league with 16 receiving touchdowns.

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3 comments
NickWright
NickWright

It should be based on production more than labels. Jimmy Graham put up receiver numbers. He's not out there for his blocking prowess. 

JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

It should not be based on where you line up on the field but how many games you start at a position that should declare you franchise tag position.   It makes no sense to start every game at TE but then try and get the tag number for WR.

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

The Incredible Shrinking Violet (Graham) (wow, did the Seahawks shut him up) and The Guy Nobody Has Ever Heard of Before (Pitta) should just try to claim to be slot-receivers … then they can see how quickly they'll be out of the league.