The bad just got worse for the Baltimore Ravens. Their leading receiver from last season, tight end Dennis Pitta, went down with a hip injury today at the OTAs. Pitta has a long medical history when it comes to his hip, as he as injured it twice before, making today the third time he injured his hip. Pitta’s career was up in the air the last time he injured his hip and was not expected to ever play again. However, he was able to fight through it and recovered to be well enough to play again. Regrettably, it has been announced by Ravens team doctors that Pitta has dislocated his hip yet again. With such a major injury to an already strained hip, Pitta now will have to deeply contemplate his career, and life, going forward. Pitta was barely able to become healthy enough to step on the football field again for last season, and recovering from this new injury will be an even tougher challenge. Dennis Pitta will likely consider retiring from the NFL at this point, and there’s a good chance that he will, in fact, leave football.
The Ravens now have a very precarious situation on their hands. Baltimore was already stretched thin in the way of playmaking receivers, and Dennis Pitta was one of the few that they could count on. With Pitta now likely gone, they will need to find a replacement as the leader of the tight end group. The three main candidates would be tight ends Ben Watson, Crockett Gillmore, and Maxx Williams. However, Watson is coming off of an Achilles tear, Gillmore a broken back, and Williams has underperformed since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2015. What was once considered a strong point for the Ravens, the tight end group is now in limbo. The Ravens could also replace Pitta’s effectiveness as a receiver with a wide receiver. However, the Ravens really only have one wide receiver that they can count on, Mike Wallace. Breshad Perriman has yet to prove himself worthy of the first round pick the Ravens spent to obtain him in 2015, Chris Moore is young and inexperienced, Michael Campanero has injury problems, and Keenan Reynolds is still transitioning to wide receiver from quarterback. The Ravens need one of two events to occur. Either one of these tight ends or wide receivers need to step up immediately and fill the role of Pitta, or they need to scour an already thin free agency market for a playmaker. At the time of writing this, there are three free agent offense players that can help the Ravens with this predicament. These players are wide receiver Anquan Boldin, tight end Gary Barnidge, and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Anquan Boldin had previously played for the Baltimore Ravens between 2010 and 2012 and was an integral part of the Ravens 2012 Super Bowl run. Barnidge was a journeyman tight end for most of his career before bursting onto the scene in 2015 with the Cleveland Browns. Jeremy Maclin, the former Eagle and now Chief, has had a successful career at wide receiver, although he had an off year last season. All of these players are viable options for the Ravens, however, each comes with their own challenges. Boldin is currently 36 years old, and his production is dropping. Barnidge is 31 years old and is a possible bust after one good season in 2015. Maclin is a good player, and only 29 years old. However, he will likely come with a hefty price tag and has an injury history. The Ravens will need to find someone who can fit into this offense and make an impact.