“Heading into free agency, Chris was one of our priority targets on the defensive side of the ball,” said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht. “He is a big, athletic player who has developed into a disruptive interior lineman over the past three years. He will be a great addition to our defensive line and a solid fit in Mike Smith’s defensive system.”
Baker (6-2, 320) comes to Tampa Bay after spending the past five seasons with the Washington Redskins (2012-16). Prior to his time with Washington, Baker saw time with the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins. In his career, Baker has played in 78 regular season games, with 42 starts, totaling 181 tackles (26 for loss), 11.5 sacks, five passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
“Chris has excellent size and what really jumps out at you is his ability to flash dominance at times during games and his explosive quickness,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter. “His versatility will make him a great complementary player alongside Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald on our interior defensive line.”
In 2015, Baker earned the Sam Huff Defensive Player of the Year award from the Washington Redskins Alumni Association after posting career highs in sacks (6.0), quarterback hits (17), tackles for loss (10), forced fumbles (three) and fumble recoveries (two).
Per Stats, Inc., Baker has 64.5 combined quarterback knockdowns and hurries over the past two seasons. Dating back to 2015, Baker is one of six NFL players to post 100+ tackles, 9+ sacks, and 5+ forced fumbles, joining Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Carlos Dunlap, Melvin Ingram and Brandon Graham.
A native of Windsor, Connecticut, Baker played collegiately at Hampton. He originally entered the league as a college free agent with the Broncos in 2009.