Bengals reach deal with DT Chris Baker

The Cincinnati Bengals are signing defensive tackle Chris Baker, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The Bengals hosted the 6’2”, 320 pound Baker for a free agent visit on Tuesday, less than a month after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Because Baker was cut this offseason, he won’t count against potential compensatory picks the Bengals hope to accumulate in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Classified as an eighth-year player in 2018, Baker has had stops with Tampa Bay, Washington, Denver and Miami. The majority of his career was with Washington from 2011-16, during which he appeared in 76 games (42 starts) while recording 181 tackles, 11.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and five pass deflections.

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Tony Paige, the agent for former Washington and Tampa Bay defensive tackle Chris Baker, said his client has agreed to a one-year deal as the Bengals try to beef up the middle of a defense that finished third from the NFL bottom in allowing rushing yards per game.

Baker goes into the tackle mix trying to get a toe-hold next to Pro Bowl three technique Geno Atkins with youngsters Ryan Glasgow, Andrew Billings, DeShawn Williams and Josh Tupou. Chris Smith, one of last season’s bright spots after arriving in a trade from Jacksonville, is versatile pass rusher at end and tackle they’d like to re-sign in free agency. The Baker deal indicates veteran run stuffer Pat Sims isn’t coming back after two stints with the club that began with his selection in the third round of the 2008 draft.

The agreement is the second the Bengals have reached this offseason. They signed offensive lineman Bobby Hart to a one-year deal after he was cut by the Giants. The Bengals also were one of several teams that pursued free-agent safety Kurt Coleman before he signed with the New Orleans Saints last week.

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