David Baker, Sam Baker‘s father, told Gil Brandt and Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio that his son “probably just concluded his career” because of injuries that maligned him for most of the past seven seasons in Atlanta. Baker was released back in June and his name hasn’t come up in connection with another club since that time.
Baker, 30, had been recovering from a torn right patellar tendon that forced him out of action for the entire 2014 season. Knee issues limited him to less than 200 offensive snaps in 2013 as well, so health and cap concerns likely both played a part in the Falcons’ decision to part ways with him.
Baker had been set to count for $7.3MM against Atlanta’s cap this year, and that number actually would’ve increased had the team opted to cut him prior to June 1. Instead, as a mid-June cut, he’ll have only a $2.8MM dead money cap hit for the Falcons this year, creating $4.5MM in cap room. The remaining $6.4MM in dead money on Baker’s contract will be on the club’s books for 2016.
Baker, a first-round pick in 2008, played 66 games (57 starts) at left tackle for the Falcons from 2008 to 2012 before injuries limited him over the last two seasons. While his solid play earned Baker a big contract, the team drafted Jake Matthews in 2014 intending to make Matthews the long-term left tackle. Had he remained on the team for the 2015 season, Baker likely would’ve played guard.