The Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to a one-year deal with defensive tackle Chris Baker.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Chris Baker has agreed to a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. After signing a three-year, $15.75 million contract last off-season, the team released Baker on February 20th. Baker compiled only 33 tackles and half a sack for his former team in 2017.
Baker, 30, will receive a one-year, $3 million deal with the Bengals in 2018. He will reunite with defensive line coach Jacob Burney who was his coach in Washington from 2011-2014. Cincinnati linebackers coach Jim Haslett was the defensive coordinator in Washington from 2010-2014. The familiarity with these two coaches makes the signing more understandable.
The Bengals know exactly what they are getting with Baker and will likely use him to compete for the spot next to veteran defensive tackle Geno Atkins. At this point, he might have the edge on younger linemen like Andrew Billings and Ryan Glasgow but they will still have the opportunity to compete for the starting role in 2018. Baker gives the Bengals some veteran talent in case the younger prospects aren’t ready to take over yet.
There are many speculations that Baker’s lack of effort and attitude is the main reasoning for his early release from Tampa Bay. He was known in his previous home of Washington for lack of effort in practice but players really took issue with his attitude after an offside penalty late in the game against the Carolina Panthers leading to a touchdown and victory for the division rivals.
The one-year contract allows the Bengals to bring in a veteran talent that they are familiar with while bringing little risk. If Baker continues to be a problem on the field or in the locker room the Bengals can release him without issues.