Falcons release veteran tackle Sam Baker, take massive cap hit

FLOWERY BRANCH – Often-injured left  tackle Sam Baker, a former first round pick in 2008, was released by the Falcons on Monday.

Baker, 6-5, 301 pounds, played in 70 career games with 61 starts for the Falcons. The team will take a substantial salary cap hit of $ 9.2 million over this season and in 2016 as a post June 1 cut.

When healthy, Baker was productive. He helped the team post 13-3 regular season records in 2010 and 2012 as they entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the postseason.

» Photos: Sam Baker's career with Falcons

Last season, the Falcons drafted Jake Matthews with the sixth overall pick. He was slated to start at right tackle, but moved over to left tackle after Baker suffered a season-ending knee injury in an exhibition game against Houston.

Matthews played 962 snaps and was the last ranked (84th) tackle in the league by Pro Football Focus last season.

Previously, head coach Dan Quinn, who is in control of the final roster, told The Atlanta Journal- Constitution that Matthews was the team's left tackle.

Baker was welcome to compete for the right tackle or open left guard spots. He has not attended any of the open offseason events. The Falcons repeatedly said he was inside rehabbing with the trainers.

(Check back later for updates)

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.