Entering the final year of a three-year contract, Washington Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker knows that a huge 2016 could result in a contract extension for him.
Hard work pays off, and for Washington Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker, that could mean a possible contract extension down the road.
Baker, 28, is entering the last year of a reported three-year deal that he signed before the start of the 2014 season.
In 2016, the Hampton University product had his best season to date, as he finished the year with 58 tackles along with 14 tackles for loss and a Redskins defensive line-best six sacks.
"I would love to have [an extension]," Baker said over the weekend at The Philadelphia Connection Saturday at the Dulles Expo Center, via ESPN's John Keim. "But I'll let the business take care of the business and do what I've always done and that's play hard and play effectively and make plays. When it's time to talk contract, we'll get that done."
Baker's rise within the Redskins organization, and through his NFL career, is one of the league's feel-good stories.
After going undrafted in 2009, Baker signed with the Denver Broncos shortly after the NFL Draft. He would appear in just one game that year before being released in 2010. He would be signed by the Miami Dolphins and was active just one game.
In 2011, he was signed to the Redskins' practice squad.
Since then, he's gone from practice squad to backup to key starter in Washington.
Now entering the 2016 as one of the defense's top players, Baker understands its "a real big year for me."
Check out the top images of Chris Baker from the 2015 season.
"I had to work my way through the league and get my opportunity and really take advantage of my opportunity," Baker said. "Coming off the best season I've had, I have to keep building forward and continuing to play a lot better than what I did last year, knowing what I'm capable of. I just needed the opportunity and when I got the opportunity I ran with it. Everything is looking on the upward. I'm a hard worker. I'll continue to do what I've always done."
While Baker could play some nose tackle this year in a rotational situation to replace Terrance Knighton, Baker prefers to play left end.
"I've solidified myself as a good left end," he said. "So I'd like to stay at my position and use my athleticism to make plays. I'm willing to do what it takes to make sure the team wins, but hopefully they leave me at left end and use the other noses we have or some of the younger guys we're going to draft. Hopefully we pick up some guys who pick up the system and leave me at end so I don't have to go back down and take on those double-teams."