I hate to be a naysayer, but sometimes you have to play devil's advocate. Will Svitek is officially out of the picture, we're on the hook for a cool $18.25 million in guaranteed money, and Sam Baker's arms aren't getting any longer.
I know, his arms aren't that short. And I know, he showed vast improvement in 2012. Moreover, his durability issues [knock on wood] seem to be a thing of the past. But he still isn't all that and a piece of aged cheddar.
Baker gave up six sacks in 2012; he was also responsible for Matt Ryan hitting the deck an additional 8 times. He was Pro Football Focus' 27th ranked offensive tackle. Simply stated, he was mediocre most of the time. I'll give him credit for staying healthy. His 1,204 snaps from scrimmage warrant acknowledgement.
Look, I'm just not convinced left tackle is a priority position in the modern NFL. The Blind Side's kick butt intro aside, spending ridiculous amounts of money on your left tackle simply isn't pragmatic most of the time. That said, the broad strokes of Baker's deal aren't objectionable. It's a backloaded contract laden with incentives. His base salaries for the next couple of years are very reasonable for a starting left tackle. I really only care about the guaranteed money. But who am I? If I had to guess, guaranteed money was a must for Baker. Can't blame him for wanting that.