The Cincinnati Bengals have released veteran defensive tackle Chris Baker, the team announced Friday.
Classified as an eighth-year player in 2018, Baker has had stops with Tampa Bay, Washington, Denver and Miami. The majority of his career was with Washington from 2011-16, during which he appeared in 76 games (42 starts) while recording 181 tackles, 11.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and five pass deflections.
In 2017, Baker had 33 total tackles, two pass deflections and a half a sack in 15 games (14 starts). In his previous two seasons in Washington (2015-16), Baker recorded 100 total tackles, 9.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in 32 games (32 starts).
Baker would go on to sign a free agent deal with Tampa Bay in the 2017 offseason, but he was released after just one season on what was a three year contract worth $15.7 million.
Baker becomes the latest veteran player Cincinnati has parted ways with this offseason, joining the likes of Adam Jones, Brandon LaFell and George Iloka. However, Baker was just signed by the Bengals this offseason, so the team must have really felt good about other tackles and/or not liked what they saw from Baker.
The hope was Baker would provide an upgrade to the interior of Cincinnati’s defensive line, which struggled in 2017 outside of Geno Atkins. But with the emergence of Ryan Glasgow and Andrew Billings, not to mention the addition of fifth-round rookie Andrew Brown, Baker became expendable.
Baker signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Bengals back in March, including a $300,000 signing bonus. In 2018, Baker was set to have a base salary of $1,500,000, a roster bonus of $481,250 and a workout bonus of $150,000 while carrying a cap hit of $2,431,250 and a dead cap value of $300,000, per Spotrac.
In other words, Baker gets his $300K guaranteed, but the team avoids the rest of the $3 million deal. Between this and the release of Iloka earlier this week, the Bengals just freed up about $8 million in cap space this week.
I know a couple of players that deserve that money...