Position: Defensive lineman
Height: 6'2" Weight: 325 lbs
College: Hampton (via Penn State)
Drafted: Undrafted (2009)
Chris Baker bounced around the league for his first two seasons before finally catching on with the Redskins in 2011. He's been a part-time starter along the defensive line since coming to the nation's capital, but this year he's mostly expected to be rotated in off the bench.
#1. Baker briefly played at Penn State, but he was kicked out of school for his role in a 2007 brawl. He transferred to Hampton and finished his collegiate career there, then went undrafted in 2009. He endured stints on the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos' practice squads before coming to the Redskins, but he tore his quad playing basketball before he could ever get on the field.
#2. When he finally did make it onto the field, Baker proved to be a solid, versatile lineman that could be seamlessly switched from nose tackle to defensive end and back. He's played in all but four games over the last three seasons, and his 40 tackles last year were a career high.
#3. The Redskins' defensive line went through more changes this offseason than perhaps any other position group, but Swaggy is among the the holdovers. Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins and Chris Neild are all gone, and in their stead are Terrance Knighton, Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean Francois and Jerrell Powe. Knighton is projected to start at nose tackle while Paea and Jason Hatcher are expected to man the ends; the good news for Baker is that he can back up any of the three starters, something that should help him solidify one of the top reserve positions.
Under the assumption that Washington carries seven d-linemen into the regular season, as it did in 2014, it's widely believed that Knighton, Paea, Hatcher, Jean Francois and Baker will make the roster without much trouble. Kedric Golston and Frank Kearse are the early favorites to earn the final two positions, and Baker's job should not be in jeopardy. On the contrary, he could be playing for a chance at a starting spot should one of the incumbents go down. His experience with the Redskins and his ability to play multiple positions make him an ideal reserve, and he has a legitimate chance to be the top backup DL on this remade unit.
#4. Baker helped recruit Knighton to the Redskins, as the two were childhood friends. When Swaggy got married (to ESPN's Jamila Phillips) in March, Pot Roast was there to serve as his best man.
#5. Much like teammate Duke Ihenacho, Baker finds NFL contracts pale in comparison to the rich, mostly guaranteed deals that NBA players receive.
Most def playing the wrong sport. Lord why did you make me 6'3 and not 6'9 so I could be in the #NBA I want guaranteed contracts— Chris Baker (@cbaker92redskin) July 1, 2015
Bottom Line: Chris Baker, barring something unexpected happening, will be with the Redskins in 2015. His ability to play any of the three DL positions will likely earn him the top backup position, and his friendship with Knighton — who is only signed to a one-year deal — remains valuable even after the initial recruiting stage. His numbers have improved each year, he's still just 27 (he turns 28 in October) and he's signed at a very favorable contract through the 2016 season. The Skins would be wise to let him play out his deal and see what level he's producing at 20 months from now.