Not a done deal. But the writing is on the wall. In my mind, it couldn't be clearer that he's played his last snap as a Falcon.
First, let me just say that I hold no ill will towards Baker as a person. He's a nice guy, and the injury bug has unfortunately clouded his otherwise solid career as a run blocker. But there are several reasons he won't be back next Fall. And here are the top five:
(5) He's due a substantial raise
He made $1,012,500 this year. He's due $1,951,250 next year. Given his production - or rather the lack thereof - I'm thinking we can find a better use for that $900K.
(4) He couldn't transition to guard
The turnstile that was our LG position this year saw its fair share of Baker. And he couldn't hack it.
(3) Our new OC has a pass-heavy philosophy - and Baker's not the scheme-fit he once was
Koetter is known as a proponent of the vertical attack. The running game will still have its place, but I'd imagine pass protection just became a huge priority.
(2) He can't stay healthy
Injuries ad nauseum. Enough said.
(1) He has abnormally short arms
No words. It's just awkward.
Let's be honest, he's not the first bust to come out of the first round of the NFL draft. Heck, I'm not even sure we can characterize him as a bust. He was 11 picks from being a second rounder and we reached like crazy. Can't blame him for that. Moreover, I'd like to think The Comrade's draft philosophy has paid off. He's allowed to make some mistakes.