The Atlanta Falcons have a gaping hole at tight end now that Tony Gonzalez is officially going to be spending next fall talking about football instead of actually playing football. Without many options to take care of tight end in the draft this year, the Falcons are going to need to look to the free agent market.
One intriguing name being thrown around is Dennis Pitta. A pass-catching tight end that has been productive for the Baltimore Ravens since they took him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Pitta could step right in and start in the Atlanta offense. In some ways, he’s kind of like a light version of what Gonzalez brought to the table.
Pitta broke onto the scene in his second year with 40 catches and three touchdowns, then followed that up with an even better third season with 61 receptions and seven scores. He looked like he was going to be one of the best tight ends in the league heading into last season, but he lost most of his 2013 campaign to a hip injury he suffered in training camp.
Despite a lost season, he’s still one of the better young tight ends around. He’s big, relatively fast and makes a great red-zone target. The Falcons need all those things next year out of their tight end, something they’re not likely to get out of the current collection of talent on the roster.
The Falcons need to do something about the tight end position this offseason. They don’t have anyone on the roster up to the task of manning the spot, and they don’t want to spend an early-round draft pick on it either. That means the only way they get any real production out of the tight end is to go out and spend some money in free agency.
Pitta is the best tight end that will be on the market. The Falcons need to give Matt Ryan as many weapons as possible, and they would be wise to go after Pitta in free agency this year.