Baker upset over contract situation as Jets draft another tight end

Updated: April 28, 2008, 1:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The positive message tight end Dustin Keller got on Saturday when he was taken in the first round by the New York Jets was clear, especially because they traded up to get him.

Jets GM on ESPN Radio

On the Mike & Mike Show, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum discusses the team's thinking behind selecting Vernon Gholston, Dustin Keller, and Erik Ainge. Listen Insider

Then there's starter Chris Baker, who now will be the third highest-paid tight end on the Jets, behind free agent Bubba Franks, whom they signed in the offseason, and now newcomer Keller.

Talk about sending signals.

Baker, who has been trying to get the Jets to rework his contract, was frustrated enough with the lack of negotiations to leave the team's offseason conditioning program recently. When he heard the Jets had picked Keller, a 6-2, 242-pounder out of Purdue, his frustration turned to something else.

"I'm angry about the fact that they said, 'We're going to do something for you,' and nothing's being done," Baker said, according to the New York Post. "It doesn't make any sense. I've been here six years and I've always done what they've asked me to do."

Chris Baker

Baker

Baker told the Post he wanted to stay with the Jets, but also wanted to have a reworked contract to reflect his starting status and his career-best performance last season, with 41 catches. He is in the third year of a $6.6 million contract, and will earn $683,000 this season, according to the Post.

But the Jets signed Franks to a one-year deal worth $1.65 million, and Keller, drafted 30th overall, likely will receive a deal that goes beyond that. The Jets gave up second- and fourth-round picks (No. 36 and No. 113) to the Green Bay Packers in order to move up to No. 30.

As for leaving the conditioning program, Baker said he had no choice. "What else can I do?" he said to the Post.. "I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I needed to let it be known that I'm not happy and nothing is being addressed with my contract."

In the meantime, Baker's agent, Jonathan Feinsod, formally requested the Jets trade Baker. The Jets declined, and in fact, on Saturday, general manager Mike Tannenbaum said, "Chris is on our team. We expect him to be here for all of the mandatory events. We expect him to have a good 2008 season."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.