Patriots release Baker, leaving TE void
Baker was signed as a free agent last offseason. He finished with 14 receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns in 2009, with his primary impact coming as a blocker. With fellow tight end Benjamin Watson scheduled for unrestricted free agency, the Patriots have a considerable void to fill at the position.
Baker's contract had been extended through 2013, although there was a significant bonus prior to the 2011 season that essentially made it a two-year deal. He was scheduled to make $2 million in base salary in 2010.
New England Patriots
The Patriots are also operating without an official tight ends coach at this time, so this is a spot where there figures to be significant turnover.
The Baker move was unexpected, especially considering Watson's status. If he doesn't return to the Patriots, that leaves only the untested Rob Myers and Robbie Agnone on the roster.
This year's free-agent crop is considered weak at the position, with Watson one of the top options. As for the draft, analysts consider it deep at the position. A trade is always a possibility and this could intensify the chatter around perhaps acquiring Greg Olsen from the Bears.
Baker played in every game in 2009 and was on the field for 61 percent of the team's snaps, with his primary contributions coming as a blocker. He finished with 14 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
When he caught two touchdown passes in the preseason opener at Philadelphia, it looked like the Patriots had found an impressive piece to add to the offense. Yet that turned out to be one of the high points of Baker's one-year stay with the team.
Now, the Patriots have a big question at tight end.
- Starting Strong
- Red Sox lefty Jon Lester looked like an ace in his first start of the spring.
- Not Tipping Their Hand
- The legal tampering period hasn't shed light on where the Pats stand with Aqib Talib.
- Strength In Numbers
- Authorities have announced major security measures for this year's Boston Marathon.
- Reasonable Doubt?
- How a conspiracy of silence and a vanished gun have complicated the case.
- Momma's Boy
- Top Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini isn't above calling his mother for hitting advice.
- Nike Boys' Home Game Jersey New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski #87
MORE NFL HEADLINES