Questions surround Sam Baker’s future
The issue the Atlanta Falcons face in terms of their offensive tackle position isn’t necessarily about whether certain players will return, but rather what roles they might return in.
Although some had the foresight to question it, it’s become abundantly clear in hindsight that the contract the Falcons gave left tackle Sam Baker last March was a bad one. The team is faced with the scenario of paying him an option bonus which likely will lock him to being a Falcon for the next two seasons. While it’s possible the Falcons could decide to get out of the contract, it does not appear that is their plans, likely due to the significant cap penalties they would face over the next year or two. So it seems that Baker will return next season and open up the offseason as a starter. The only real question is whether that will be playing left tackle or another position.
It’s likely that Baker will man the left tackle position once again in 2014. But it’s possible that dependent on what moves the Falcons make this offseason, he could be switching positions. Baker’s brief stint at right guard did not go well in 2011, making a possible switch to right tackle more doubtful. If that happens, then it will be due to the Falcons spending on a free agent or using a high pick on another left tackle. The latter seems more plausible of the two scenarios, since it’s doubtful the Falcons are willing to dole out another large contract that it would take to entice such a free agent to Atlanta given their investment in Baker. And drafting a tackle will depend on whether or not the Falcons like the premier prospects at the top of the draft, whether they are on the board on May 8, and if the Falcons can shore up other needs across the roster in free agency. All of which are unknown quantities to date, making it doubtful that is planned path moving forward.
Allen and I are joined by Dave Choate of the Falcoholic to recap the Atlanta Falcons’ Week 15 win over the Washington Redskins as well as preview their primetime Week 16 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. We all agree that it was an ugly win for the Falcons and search for positives that can be taken away. We discuss Mike Shanahan’s decision to go for two, lineup changes to the offensive line, Steven Jackson trucking Josh Wilson, and which San Antonio Spur that Tony Gonzalez compares most to. A lot of this episode centers on the cornerback position with Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, and Asante Samuel occupying a large chunk of the discussion. I give my thoughts on the evolution of defense and what it could mean for the value of the cornerback position in the future. And of course Allen and I close with discussing the playoff races, the epic collapse of the Dallas Cowboys, the Arizona Cardinals becoming our new favorite team among other NFL topics in their ‘Around the League’ segment.
1 hour, 15 minutes
Allen writes for TJRSports.com as well as the Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.
Dave writes for The Falcoholic and can be found on twitter: @TheFalcoholic.
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Categories: Podcast Alford, Allen Strk, Darius Johnson, Dave Choate, depth, Gunn, Locklear, podcast, preview, review, Samuel, Schraeder, Steven Jackson, Trufant
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons have signed offensive tackle Sean Locklear to fill the void left by Sam Baker, who was placed on injured reserve.
Locklear spent the 2012 season with the New York Giants, where he started 10 games, predominantly at right tackle due to an injury to David Diehl. Locklear’s season ended when he tore ACL at the end of the year. The previous year he was a swing tackle with the Washington Redskins, and started 4 games. Before joining the Redskins in 2011, Locklear spent seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, starting 78 games over six seasons. He was originally a third round pick out of N.C. State in 2003.