The Cincinnati Bengals have a new addition to the team’s defensive line.
On Wednesday, the team signed Chris Baker to a one-year deal that will pay him $3 million. This comes just one year after Baker signed a three-year deal worth over $6 million per year to leave Washington for Tampa Bay in 2017.
Baker has been a productive lineman while playing multiple positions in different schemes. Pro Football Reference lists Baker as having played defensive end, defensive tackle and even nose tackle.
His most productive season came in 2015 as a 3-4 defensive end, when he registered 26 solo tackles, 27 assisted tackles, two fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and 6.5 sacks.
So, why did Tampa Bay cut Baker?
It would seem to be due to a combination of both performance and chemistry. He registered just 31 total tackles and 0.5 sacks in 15 games in 2017. That’s not going to cut it for a guy getting paid $6 million per year.
To make matters worse, Baker incited a locker room scuffle after a narrow loss to the Panthers, a game in which Baker was flagged for a key offsides penalty on Carolina’s come-from-behind, game-winning drive.
In Cincinnati, Baker figuess to be used primarily at the two interior tackle spots, though he could kick out to defensive end on run downs.
It also helps that Baker has experience with a pair of Bengals coaches. He worked with defensive line coach Jacob Burney and linebackers coach Jim Haslett when all three were in Washington. Now, Baker will likely take Pat Sims’ roster spot with Sims hitting free agency. Baker is probably a better player for the Bengals, especially since he’s more versatile. And because Baker was cut this offseason, he won’t count against the Bengals’ potential compensatory draft picks in 2019.
All things considered, was this a good move by the Bengals to sign Baker?
Do you like the Bengals’ Chris Baker signing?
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Don’t mind it.
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