I still don’t believe it.
Pat Yasinskas sat down with Mike Smith and asked specifically about the futures of first-round disappointments Sam Baker and Peria Jerry. Concerning Baker, Smith said the Falcons are “very committed” to him. Smith follows that by saying Baker has a long future with the team. With how badly Baker has performed, this is shocking, disturbing news. As Yasinskas says, Smith is a pretty straight-forward coach, so there’s no reason to believe he’s being deceptive.
On one hand, I don’t quite understand the point of keeping Baker on the roster; cutting him would save $2.6 million. He would be an extremely expensive backup if he can’t hold off Will Svitek for the starting left tackle job.
On the other hand, solid left tackles are difficult to find in the NFL. The Falcons chose Baker in the first round; there’s a chance he can still turn into the player they envisioned him to be when they traded up for him to protect Matt Ryan’s blindside.
It’s more than likely Jerry won’t live up to his first-round draft status. Unlike Baker, cutting Jerry would force the Falcons to take a $2.2 million cap hit. He’ll still be on the roster when the season begins.
As a Falcons fan, I absolutely want to see these two succeed with the team. Let’s hope that’s exactly what happens.