Chris Baker reuniting with the Denver Broncos in free agency?


The Denver Broncos will be on the hunt for nose tackle help in free agency, and Redskins free agent Chris Baker could be a target…

With Kirk Cousins demanding all of the attention this offseason with the Washington Redskins, one free agent that could generate plenty of interest elsewhere is veteran nose tackle Chris Baker. Baker, who will be 30 in October, is coming off of two of the best seasons of his NFL career and proving those who once thought him to be a ‘sleeper’ correct.

I was a bit shocked when I found out that Baker was entering his ninth NFL season in 2017, because it feels like just yesterday, he was an undrafted free agent pickup by the Denver Broncos. In 2009 as the Broncos were making the transition to a 3-4 defensive scheme under Josh McDaniels and Mike Nolan, Baker was signed after the draft out of Hampton as one of the top undrafted players in the 2009 class.

Baker lasted one year with the Broncos, appearing in just one game, and eventually getting waived and signing on with the Miami Dolphins. He didn’t last in Miami either, and signed on with the Washington Redskins to their practice squad in 2011, and in December of that year, was brought up to the active roster.

And that is where he has not only remained, but excelled.

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Baker played in 14 games in 2012 as a backup, and played in 15 games in 2013 while getting his first three NFL starts and recording his first NFL sack. By 2014, Baker had become essentially a full-time starter, starting 12 of 15 games played and setting a career mark with 39 total tackles.

In 2015, Baker had a banner season, playing in all 16 games (10 starts), racking up a new career high 53 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles. He started all 16 games for the first time in his NFL career in 2016, finishing with 47 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two more forced fumbles while generating plenty of attention around the league.

Listed at 6-2, 320 pounds, Baker could be an ideal fit for the Denver Broncos, who are going to be searching for nose tackle help this offseason. He’s a nose tackle that can not only occupy blocks and be effective in the running game, but as his 9.5 sacks over the last two seasons indicate, he can also get penetration and make plays as a pass rusher.

He’s developed over the last eight seasons into a stud on the defensive line, and should be high on John Elway’s priority list this offseason.