Dennis Pitta really can’t catch a break. The Baltimore Ravens tight end injured his hip on Friday at practice, and is currently undergoing tests to determine the severity of the injury. According to the Ravens, the injury happened without contact. “Pitta stretched to make a catch, just like he’s done a million times. He fell to the turf and tried to get up, but couldn’t put weight on his leg.”
This is notable because it is the third hip injury in four years. He suffered the first one in July 2013, fracturing and dislocating his hip. He worked his way back to play the final four games of the 2013 season. He re-injured the hip in September 2014, and had a surgery meant to deal with long-term stability. He eventually decided to mount a comeback, and after missing most of 2014 and all of 2015, he returned in 2016 to lead NFL tight ends with 86 receptions, and have a career-high 729 receiving yards.
While we await word on Pitta’s status, Benjamin Watson and Maxx Williams are atop the Ravens depth chart with Pitta sidelined. He missed last season with an Achilles injury, and is attempting a comeback. He has not yet returned to practice. The team spent a second round pick on Williams in 2015, and he is returning from a 2016 knee injury. Their other tight ends include Nick Boyle, Crockett Gillmore, and Darren Waller.
The San Francisco 49ers of course tried to deal away Vance McDonald earlier this offseason, and are clearly trying to re-make much of the tight end depth chart. It is possible the Ravens will move forward with what they have, but there are a variety of options on the table if Pitta is lost for an extended period. Gary Barnidge and Jacob Tamme are free agents, so my guess is the Ravens would give each of them a call first. But I would not be surprised if the one of the two sides inquired about some kind of potential tight end trade.