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Seeking more cap space, Ravens ask TE Dennis Pitta to take pay cut

Ravens beat writers Jeff Zrebiec discuss the 49ers release of former Ravens Torrey Smith and if the Ravens would have an interest in him. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

The Ravens continue to try and open up salary cap room ahead of Thursday's start to free agency and they've identified tight end Dennis Pitta's contract as a potential way that they can get it.

The team has asked the 31-year-old to take a paycut, according to sources. The two sides are trying to work out a deal, but it appears that nothing is immnent on that front.

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After tendering at least five of their restricted free agents and releasing defensive backs Shareece Wright and Kendrick Lewis yesterday, the Ravens have approximately $10 million of salary cap space.

Along with reworking Pitta's deal, their options for creating salary cap space include addressing the status of Elvis Dumervil, Lardarius Webb, Benjamin Watson, Kyle Arrington and Jeremy Zuttah.

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The Ravens also will have to decide by 4 p.m. Thursday whether to pick up wide receiver Mike Wallace's option for 2017. Declining it would create $5.75 million of cap room.

Pitta agreed to a $4 million pay cut last year to remain with the team and attempt his second comeback from a fractured and dislocated right hip. He wound up making $3 million of it back in incentives.

He has two years remaining on the five-year, $32.5 million deal he signed before the 2014 season. He's due to make a base salary of $5.5 million in 2017 and he carries a salary cap hit of $7.7 million. That was the sixth highest cap number on the team and also the sixth highest among NFL tight ends.

In cutting him, the Ravens would create $3.3 million in salary cap space. However, they also will have to absorb $4.4 million in dead money on the cap.

Pitta led the Ravens and all NFL tight ends with 86 receptions after he missed the entire 2015 season and played in seven combined games in 2013 and 2014.

Howeer, he averaged just 8.5 yards a reception and had just two touchdowns. The Ravens are well stocked at tight end with Watson, Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams expected to return from injuries and Nick Boyle and Darren Waller also coming back. The draft also features a highly touted tight end class.

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