The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms with Sam Baker, according to Jason La Canfora, Pat Yasinskas and a few other sources. Jay Adams retweeted La Canfora as well. It appears safe to say this news is legitimate. There's no way five different people misread texts.
Baker revitalized his play in 2012 and put in easily the best season of his five-year tenure in Atlanta. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed 37 hurries, nine hits and six sacks in 18 games. PFF rated Baker as the 18th-best left tackle in the NFL last season.
Back issues plagued the early stages of Baker's career. Whether he was hindered by injury or simply struggling to adjust to pro football, Baker looked far from a lock to re-sign upon completion of the 2011 season. When Will Svitek was placed on injured reserve back in August, panic ensued among Falcons fans. Fortunately Baker stepped up as a full-time starter, which has now landed him a new payday.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Lamar Holmes was drafted in Round 3 of the 2012 NFL Draft to presumably take over the left tackle duties for the Falcons at some point, but Baker's improvement kept the rookie's playing time at bay. Holmes also suffered a foot injury that sidelined him for a significant portion of his first preseason.
It's a 6 yr deal between the Falcons and Sam Baker— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 13, 2013
That's a lengthy deal for Baker. We'll see what the figures say, but I would hope it's nothing too steep. Somewhere in the $6 million ballpark would make the most sense for a guy coming off his first solid season.
Assuming Baker stays healthy, he will continue to shield Matt Ryan's blindside going forward. He's making great strides, but the former first-round pick needs to continue his progression as a reliable left tackle. Some of you still aren't sold on Baker from the looks of previous comments. What's your take on him staying in Atlanta?