The Bengals are starting to purge their veterans with large contracts, and they continued that today by cutting Chris Baker.
The Bengals made another important transaction today as they released veteran defensive tackle Chris Baker. After the team cut George Iloka last Sunday, the release of Baker doesn’t seem as surprising. As a veteran past his prime with an expendable contract, he was going to have to work to make the final roster.
Baker had been struggling through the preseason thus far. In two preseason games, Baker did not record a single run stop or pass pressure, and had the worst PFF grade of any defensive tackle on the Bengals. It seems like Baker’s best years were behind him in Washington.
He was not benefitted by the rise of the Bengals’ young guys, especially Andrew Billings. Billings seems to have emerged as a legitimate starting lineman as the nose tackle opposite Geno Atkins. He can finally step into the role the Bengals saw for him when they drafted him. Aside from Billings, Ryan Glasgow is capable of playing rotation snaps along the line, as he demonstrated last year. Also, the Bengals drafted Andrew Brown in the fifth round, and likely want to see him develop for a couple years. The defensive tackle room was just too crowded.
Baker’s contract was also too large to justify keeping him for his veteran experience. The Bengals signed him to a 1-year, $3 million deal this offseason, but most of that was non-guaranteed. Since the team waived him before the start of the season, they only owed him $300,000. That frees up even more cap space for potential extensions or free agent signings.
Baker’s release comes as no surprise given all the circumstances surrounding the position. The team has plenty of depth along the defensive line, so Baker was nothing more than expendable. Hopefully he finds a team to stick with now that he’s a free agent.