Dennis Pitta, ex-Ravens dot list of some of the NFL's worst contracts

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) in the first open training camp of the season at M&T Bank Stadium.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) in the first open training camp of the season at M&T Bank Stadium. (Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron)

As things currently stand, the Ravens don't have any salary cap space to be active on the free-agent market, which officially opens on March 9. That could change if they're able to rework quarterback Joe Flacco's contract or release several veterans.

However, one list, published today, should serve as the latest cautionary reminder that signing expensive free agents isn't always the best way to build a team.


In a slideshow, Jason Fitzgerald of The Sporting News opined on every NFL team's absolutely worst contract.

For the Ravens, he chose the five-year, $32.5 million deal ($16 million guaranteed) the Ravens gave tight end Dennis Pitta in February 2014. That is the obvious choice as Pitta has played in just three games over the past two seasons after fracturing and dislocating his hip for a second time. Pitta's career may be over despite his interest in playing again.

Just as notable on the list, though, is the presence of several former Ravens:

Fitzgerald singled out the contract of wide receiver Torrey Smith as the San Francisco 49ers' worst. Smith left the Ravens in free agency after last offseason and signed a five-year, $40 million deal ($22 million guaranteed) with San Francisco. He hurt his old team with a long touchdown catch in the 49ers' victory over the Ravens in October, and the Ravens never were able to replace Smith's speed. However, Smith, 27, finished with a career-low 33 catches for 663 yards and four touchdown receptions for the 49ers.

Defensive lineman Arthur Jones, who left the Ravens following the 2013 campaign, was listed as having the Indianapolis Colts' worst contract. Since signing a five-year, $33 million contract with Indianapolis in March 2014, Jones has played in just nine games over two seasons. Jones, 29, missed the entire 2015 season after tearing ligaments in his ankle in the preseason.

A former Ravens' first-round pick and Pro Bowl selection, offensive guard Ben Grubbs,  represented the Kansas City Chiefs on the list. After acquiring Grubbs from the New Orleans Saints last March, the Chiefs signed the guard to a four-year, $24 million contract ($6.6 million guaranteed).  Grubbs, 31, played in just seven games for the Chiefs and was ultimately shut down because of a neck injury.

The list probably won't make Ravens' fans feel any better about the prospects of losing their top two pending unrestricted free agents: offensive guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele and strong-side linebacker Courtney Upshaw. The Ravens are expected to either place the franchise tag on kicker Justin Tucker or sign him to a long-term deal.

But at the very least, it should serve as a buyer's beware, and remind fans that very few of the big-money free agents that the Ravens have lost in recent years have performed up to their contracts elsewhere.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills), tight end Owen Daniels (Denver Broncos) and pass rusher Pernell McPhee (Chicago Bears) had solid 2015 seasons, but before them, there was Jones, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and many more.

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