It’s a tough question, I know. But it must be addressed. What do we do when players under contract have an inflated perception of their true value? As a fan it always breaks my heart. I like Chris Baker, I really do. His style of play was a breath of fresh air after the failed Anthony Becht and Doug Jolley experiments. We had a Tight End that could catch! I supported Chris in previous offseasons when other fans were in favor of drafting a new TE. And I defended him passionately. But I can’t stand by Chris in this instance; especially not when his demands are selfish and unrealistic. Chris Baker is not an elite TE on this team (or in this league), and his output to date does not warrant a contract that reflects what he thinks he’s capable of! That leads me to one of my older articles where I argued that the players needed to be capped. It’s becoming too easy for an average veteran to make demands when he sees the monstrous rookie contracts being handed out to men who have never played an NFL down. Life is harsh, Chris. Let’s hug it out.
Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, Todd Heap, and Kellen Winslow are of a caliber that Chris Baker is not. Opposing defenses don’t need to plan ways to stop Chris from taking over a game. On NFL.com, Chris Baker ranks 19th among NFL Tight Ends. Chris Baker’s 41 receptions are contributions to a 4-12 season. Only in the sports world can a man demand a raise after terrible results. The fact that the offensive play calling may have underutilized Baker is inconsequential. But what DOES matter is that Baker agreed to a mid-season contract renegotiation resulting in money being re-allocated. Chris Baker may feel underpaid right now, but that’s because last season he agreed to be overpaid. Before Chris wants to compare his paycheck to veteran Bubba Franks’ one-year deal, maybe he should compare careers, too. Who’s been to more Pro Bowls?
Sorry for the sarcasm, Chris, but you’re suffering from what I call PKS (Pete Kendall Syndrome). The symptoms involve greed, ego, hyper-sensitivity resulting in excessive whining, and delusions of grandeur. Fortunately, the Jets played it smarter this offseason and sought adequate replacements. In the Kendall situation, he saw the dollars other veterans in his position were getting and decided he could ask for some of that, too. But is it our Jets’ fault for determining that while our players are good, they’re not on the level of the players receiving elite contracts? No one was going to confuse Pete Kendall for Derrick Dockery or Steve Hutchinson. While we may have suffered with Adrien Clarke last season, Kendall’s departure provided us with an open door to a younger, more vicious, and more talented perennial Pro Bowler in Alan Faneca. I’ll always respect Chris for his performance against Kansas City that opening day in 2005 (where we still lost). And I’ll always love that touchdown catch he made in Cleveland that the referees robbed from him. But I refuse to respect his attempts to hold this team hostage for a new contract. The Jets are on the verge of doing something great, and I can do without the distractions.