OLT Baker rewards Falcons for faith

Posted Dec. 28, 2012 @ 12:50 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

The Falcons have been rewarded this season for the faith they showed in OLT Sam Baker, and Baker could, in turn, be rewarded by the Falcons this offseason.

Baker’s performance declined last season as he battled injuries. He underwent a back procedure and was benched. However, the Falcons showed a renewed confidence in him in the offseason.

When some of the team’s fans were calling for the Falcons to replace Baker, head coach Mike Smith praised Baker’s resiliency and told PFW at the NFL Scouting Combine that he would be very comfortable with Baker returning as the team’s starting left tackle. The Falcons believed that Baker would bounce back as long as he could stay healthy, and he has responded, starting every game and allowing only 3½ sacks — the fewest he has allowed since his rookie year, when he played in only eight games — according to STATS, LLC.

He is in the final year of his rookie contract and is due to become an unrestricted free agent, but it would be a surprise if the Falcons do not make a push to work out a new deal with him before he hits the open market.