Finding ways to save money is a big part of the business for every NFL team. Doing that is priority one for the Baltimore Ravens as they try to keep their championship roster intact. Could they start by replacing Dennis Pitta with Tyler Eifert?
Joe Flacco and Ed Reed create problems for Ravens and Pitta
Teams generally prefer to hang onto players whom quarterbacks favor on the field. It leads to chemistry and more important production. That is why tight end Dennis Pitta is a high value target for Baltimore when free agency starts in March. The problem is they don't have enough money to go around. They already must absorb the loss of Ray Lewis to retirement, but when looking at the list of players they have to try to keep it must create migraines. GM Ozzie Newsome already has the clear task of locking up Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. That alone will cost serious money. Yet when other big names like Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, and Dannell Ellerbe join the list it creates havoc. Sitting quietly at the center of it is Pitta. He was a favorite target for Flacco in 2012 with 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. Wanting to keep him isn't the problem. Finding the money is. Pitta is a restricted free agent, meaning if a team gives him a big offer the Ravens have the right to match it. Whether they can or will is a topic nobody in Baltimore wants to think about. If he does leave for a new team, can Newsome afford to ignore finding another tight end in the draft?
Eifert maintains NFL draft edge over Zach Ertz at Combine
Lucky for the Ravens, tight ends normally don't dominate the top end of the NFL draft. With the 32nd pick they can dream about Manti Te'o or Alec Ogletree to replace Ray Lewis but the fact is they have a better chance at landing a top tight end that late in the first round. The 2013 class doesn't lack for talent either. Notre Dame star Tyler Eifert proved that point at the Scouting Combine when he posted solid number across the board, solidifying his spot as the best tight end available. His challenger, Zach Ertz of Stanford had a good day as well but couldn't post the same speed as Eifert. If Baltimore doesn't want to reach for a linebacker or safety, then taking a tight end and letting Pitta walk would save them enough money to keep at least two of their prized defensive free agents. In that manner Flacco gets another young weapon for his arsenal.
Tyler Eifert can't create the same magic of a Ray Lewis but he can help the Baltimore Ravens keep their roster together. By adding him and sacrificing Dennis Pitta, they will save enough money to maintain the defense and keep Joe Flacco happy.
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