Buccaneers Sign Chris Baker
The Buccaneers have found a new defensive tackle to start next to Gerald McCoy. On Thursday the team agreed to terms with five-year vet Chris Baker.
The Buccaneers and Washington Redskins must have a thing for one another. Along with being the Buccaneers last playoff opponent, the two teams have shared many players, coaches and executives over the years. 29 year old defensive tackle Chris Baker is the latest example of this trend, as he and the Buccaneers agreed to a three-year,18 million dollar deal on Thursday.
Baker was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Denver Broncos in 2009 but didn’t find his way in the NFL until 2012 when he joined the Washington Redskins. Since then, the 6’2, 330 pound Baker has been rock solid as a 3-4 defensive end, moving inside on passing downs. The last two seasons for Baker have been his most productive as a pass rusher, notching six sacks in 2015 and 3.5 in 2016. Over his career the big defensive lineman has accumulated 182 tackles, 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. Baker was Pro Football Focus’s 18th graded defensive tackle last season, significantly higher than both Akeem Spence and Clinton McDonald.
This signing feels very much like the Robert Ayers signing last year. Neither player is particularly flashy or making any all-pro teams, but they bring a fierce, mean attitude that every defensive line needs. Baker will start at nose tackle next to Gerald McCoy and fill out a really imposing group of defensive linemen. Noah Spence, William Gholston, Clinton McDonald, Jacquies Smith, Robert Ayers, Gerald McCoy and Chris Baker is a group that no offensive line will want to face.
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An added factor of Chris Baker’s signing is that it signals that the Buccaneers probably won’t be investing an early draft pick in the defensive line. The group I listed above is a deep one that doesn’t warrant much more attention this off-season.