Kirk Cousins isn’t just the Redskins’ top priority when it comes to extensions this offseason – he’s the only player they’re interested in extending, according to ESPN.com’s John Keim (video link). That means that a handful of notable veterans, including defensive lineman Chris Baker, will be playing out their contracts in 2016.
Recently, Baker indicated that he would like to sign an extension with the Redskins, though he hasn’t discussed a new deal with the team at all this year. However, after taking care of tight end Jordan Reed with a massive five-year, ~$48MM deal, Washington seems to only want to address their quarterback while addressing every other pending free agent after the 2016 season. Baker, 28, is coming off a breakout season in which he amassed career highs in appearances (16, to go with 11 starts), tackles (53), sacks (six) and forced fumbles (three). Thanks to his output in 2015, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked Baker a solid 22nd out of 83 qualifying interior defenders.
If Baker offers a repeat performance of his 2015 season, he’ll be in line for a significant pay raise in March. Currently, Baker stands as one of the league’s best values as he plays out the three year, $9MM contract extension he inked with the Redskins in February 2014. Baker’s back-loaded contract calls for him to count for $4.275MM against the cap in the coming year. This year, Baker is slated to start at left end and he hopes that he won’t have to play much on the interior line.
“I’ve solidified myself as a good left end,” Baker said in April. “So I’d like to stay at my position and use my athleticism to make plays. I’m willing to do what it takes to make sure the team wins, but hopefully they leave me at left end and use the other noses we have or some of the younger guys we’re going to draft.”
Meanwhile, echoing previous reports, Keim says that the Redskins also will not pursue extensions for wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. With first-round pick Josh Doctson in the mix, it seems unlikely that both players will be back for 2017 and it’s also possible that neither player will remain in the nation’s capital.
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