Chris Baker Needs An Attitude Change

July 12th, 2017

Ira Kaufman, the most beloved and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town, has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out his columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.


It’s a bad look for “Swaggy.”

As news about the latest NBA mega-contract hit the wires, Chris “Swaggy” Baker couldn’t help himself. Tampa Bay’s free-agent defensive tackle took to Twitter and weighed in on the widening disparity between NFL and NBA salaries.

“Can we just have another lockout. I want some NBA MONEY.”

In one sense, you can understand Baker’s frustration.

He signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Bucs in March that included $9 million in guaranteed money. A few months later, he hears that J.J. Redick is being paid $23 million by the 76ers this upcoming NBA season.

Redick, a former Magic draft pick, is known for his accurate 3-point shot. He doesn’t rebound, he doesn’t pass much and he certainly has never been known for his defense. But if you leave him open, Redick can hurt you from long distance. For that one skill, his paycheck will dwarf Baker’s salary this fall.

But if Baker has a problem with the inequity of NFL contracts, he should be on the phone with DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the Players Association. It is Smith’s job to look out for the welfare of his constituents, but Smith doesn’t have much credibility when it comes to complaints from Buc players.

Who can forget Smith’s bluster when he touched down in Tampa in 2013 and said the union would demand a thorough investigation into the Josh Freeman saga? Smith said the NFLPA was eager to determine whether the Bucs leaked confidential information about Freeman’s involvement in the league’s substance-abuse program.

At the time, I was adamant that we would never hear another word about the findings of an investigation because the leak didn’t come from One Buc Place.

Sure enough, almost four years have passed and Mr. Smith hasn’t uttered one additional word about who did Freeman wrong.

Baker seems to be a good man. Last month, he returned to his roots in Connecticut for a football camp, giving back to his community. His foundation promotes literacy among the young.


But when asked why he signed with Bucs as a free agent, Baker mentioned the absence of state taxes before he mentioned the talent on the roster.

And at the owners meetings in Phoenix, shortly after Baker left the Redskins to wear pewter, I ran into a heavy hitter in the Washington organization.

“What are the Bucs getting in Chris Baker?” I asked.

“Good player … doesn’t like to practice,” was the rapid reply.

Chris Baker resting was a popular sight this spring

To be fair, that wouldn’t be the first time a member of the Redskins organization took a shot at a departing player … and it won’t be the last.

Nobody ever praised owner Dan Snyder for running a first-class operation, but Baker didn’t need to bitch about his paycheck before registering his first tackle or sack as a Buccaneer.

Even if he was only kidding on social media.

“I think I’m a funny guy,” he says. “I like to dance a lot. I’m always that guy that plays around probably a little bit too much, but that’s just me. I’ve never been ultra serious.”

That needs to change in the next two weeks.

Value Thrills

Once training camp begins, Mike Smith, Dirk Koetter and the Stick Carriers will be watching No. 90 very closely. They want to see hustle, technique and desire.

If the tape is good, Baker’s tweets won’t matter.

Koetter didn’t talk much about Baker during OTAs or the mandatory mini-camp. Maybe Baker’s name didn’t come up in conversation — or maybe there wasn’t anything positive to talk about.

The Bucs are counting on Baker to make an impact next to Gerald McCoy. He’s a big body and the Bucs were soft against the run in 2016, allowing 4.4 yards per carry and 15 touchdowns.

“They’re young and they’re hungry,” Baker says about Tampa Bay’s emerging defense. “We’re right on the edge of becoming a great team. I’ve never been able to play with this much talent on defense. Hopefully, I can help the team get to the next level.”

No. 90 may not want to hear it, but nothing would thrill Jason Licht more at the end of the season than to use one particular word to describe Chris Baker.




39 Responses to “Chris Baker Needs An Attitude Change”

  1. BushidoEvans Says:

    I think he was being facetious, I think he knows they will never make NBA money. Being envious isn’t a good thing, but I dont think what he said was a big deal.

  2. James Walker Says:

    I think that you are look WAY too deep into an off hand comment.

  3. Buc4Lyfe79 Says:

    THANK YOU IRA, Glad someone had the good sense to call this guy out already. 30 mins to get ur socks & shoes on when ur teammates are already out on the field participating in drills, does Baker really think he is fooling anyone with that nonsense? Guy knew exactly what he was doing, D!cking around. Way to build some great chemistry with his new teammates. I hope you hold Baker’s feet to the fire Ira and act on my suggestion from a few weeks back, by finding out what Robert Ayers thinks about Baker’s wardrobe malfunctions that a Bucs trainer couldn’t even help him correct, while they’re out on the field practicing.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    I’m with Buc4Lyfe79 on this one … THANK YOU IRA. I’m certain that Baker was just being facetious & making an off-hand comment, but it still leaves the impression that (1) you’re in it for the $$$; and (2) you’re not totally satisfied with the contract that you made. The vast majority of Americans … to include our military, police, firemen, teachers, the list goes on … bust their humps to serve & they won’t get paid in their ENTIRE lives even close to the $5 million that Chris Baker gets paid for playing in 16 games. I don’t begrudge any player whatever contract they can negotiate, but once you sign a contract that’s the end of the discussion about $$$ and you do everything you can to exceed it IMO.

  5. darin Says:

    Hey Chris….I want NBA money too….but i would also love to “settle” for nfl money. Sincerely, 99.999 percent of america

  6. BucEmUo Says:

    Wtf is it with these guys your making millions playing a game you love get your geads right

  7. Bird Says:

    Leave this alone. What is big deal. He is 100% right. NBA money is a joke. Same with MLB. And I know these leagues play more games. And nfl plays only 16-20 games. However. (Nfl) They practice and beat the hell out of each other daily. Nfl players are modern day gladiators. Their goal is to hit a guy so hard his head pops off. Guys that are 250 lbs and run sub 4.5 forties , going full speed to hurt you. These other leagues , guys usually have long careers and can walk away from league when they want. Nfl guys are lucky to stumble away after a few years if their brains aren’t already messed up. Really disappointed on these articles. I am sure every nfl warrior feels the same way not just baker

  8. Bird Says:

    Let it go

  9. tnew Says:

    I have no problem with Baker wanting more money.. In fact, I hope he earns more. If that’s what its about for him, I’ve got a crazy idea. Take your amazing God given ability, and do what your self-proclaimed role model (99) did. Work your rear off to be the best DT in the league, or at least the best you can be. To steal a Lovieism, Simple as that.

    Theres near 200K in bonuses for a Super Bowl player. You’ve got a pretty good personality. Get 10 sacks, the endorsement pot will sweeten. I wouldn’t doubt another 200K minimal available there. Another 61K or so for a pro bowl.

    Tell you what.. do all of that and you can ask for a contract restructure.. Do we have a deal?

  10. darin Says:

    Dont know about you Bird, but if i was getting the money baker was getting i would be set for life. No need for any more money. I for sure wouldnt be chirping about someone else getting more. I dont think its a big deal he said that but its not a good look. He is not missing any meals, like alot of people in this world are. N for him kts an easy fix. Want nba money chris? Play in the nba. Duh

  11. Phil Says:

    Has the morning cup of Joe come to an end?

  12. tnew Says:

    One thing tho, you can’t compare a 16 game season, with teams of 53, to an 82 game season with 14 players. I’m not an NBA fan, but I understand the math. Players want more money (I hate this idea btw) play more games and demand roster size reductions (never gonna happen).

    The idea of comparing NBA to NFL has got to stop tho. Two different fields. Rarely are you compensated for directly how hard you work or the risks associated with the job. Guys working in the logging industry make way less than plastic surgeons.

    Like Phillipa Soo (arguably the best Broadway actress today) saying she should make as much as Scarlett Johansson. Both Actresses, both work hard, both very talented. But the business model is different.

  13. BucFamous Says:

    Man, between this and the uncredited source about Baker’s practice habits there’s been so much negativity on Joe Bucs Fan for Baker–a guy that hasn’t even played a down.

    This salary comment sounds like a bad sarcastic joke that wouldn’t be a headline during the season. As for his practice habits, let’s see how he does in reality. If he loafs there’s plenty of people that will tell him.

  14. Eric Denman Says:

    This guy is getting paid to produce in the regular season (and hopefully the playoffs). I don’t read to much into whats going on with him.

  15. Buc89 Says:

    Where’s the morning cup of Joe?!

  16. James Walker Says:

    Haters gonna hate.

  17. MattSpy05 Says:

    If you’re complaining about how much football players make compared to how much you make, then be more valuable at work.

    This was a player joking around plain and simple, and now we are trying to alienate him by doing a preseason hit piece.

    First class treatment by Joe Bucs Fan!

  18. Dave Says:

    He is concerning because he does not practice allegedly.
    The fact that he’s complaining about someone in a completely different industry and what they get paid is just stupidity.
    I’m an engineer, should I bitch and complain because some actors get 20 million a movie ??

  19. MIKE Says:


  20. Bobby M. Says:

    I expect Jameis or Kwon to intervene rather quickly if the dude is truly slacking at practice or causing distractions in the locker room. Jameis routinely called out ASJ in front of the entire team for effort….He’s gone public about the “losing mentality/culture”….guys that aren’t on board, will be dealt with by the locker room as well as Mike Smith.

  21. Dreambig Says:

    Solution to this is simple and I am sure our coaches have got this. Even though he is a high priced free agent, make Baker earn his playing time. If his nature is to be a slacker and not motivated, then give those with more heart and commitment a very good look at beating him out. Its the hard working, committed individuals you want in crunch time anyway. The Diva’s almost always flame out in drama, not always mind you, but in general they will win quite a few along the way but usually self destruct on the field or off when the playoff pressure gets intense and before they take you to the promised land.

  22. Dreambig Says:

    That maybe a bad analogy, being lazy and being a Diva are two different things.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Can we just have another lockout. I want some NBA MONEY.”

    News is so slow that this has been blown completely out of proportion. He was merely joking.

    Just like when Trump talks about starting from scratch and building an empire, I say “I wish my father could have given me $6m to start from scratch!”

    Media is jumping on it because there is little else to talk about. Making news out of absolutely nothing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was not in favor of his signing, but that doesn’t mean I condone this sort of thing.

  24. Stud Says:

    I thought only the Joes overanalyzed and dissected every syllable of a quote from a player.

    This is really no big deal, but at the same time you can’t pay 53 players NBA money or even your starters NBA money, players can wish for NBA money but it’ll never happen.

  25. Buccfan37 Says:

    Baker looks big and chunky. Hope in his twilight of his career he delivers the needed impact. The sun is brutal in Tampa for big and chunky players. His tape with the Redskins showed he had some impact, though those were the highlights. His bulk should prove beneficial.


    Swaggy’s gonna be alright!!

    This team won’t allow it otherwise!!!!

  27. Pickgrin Says:

    Eat up Olinemen, get 40-50- tackles, 4 or 5 sacks and plug up that middle so runners have no where to go.

    That’s your job Chris Baker. Do it well and all will be singing your praises and not giving a crap that you loaf in practice.

    But if you fall short of doing your job well – then even your pittance of a $5M salary this year will seem like a waste and displeasure with your “antics” will spread like wildfire.

    Were counting on you – Get-R-Done Swaggy

  28. 813bucboi Says:

    this is a non story…..baker has a point tho…the only players that are cashing insane checks are qbs….with that said, he shouldn’t mention making more money when he’s already making millions…..GO BUCS!!!!

  29. Bucsfanman Says:

    Agreed that this is kind of a non-story. That said, the comparisons of salary between the 2 sports is ‘apples and oranges’. NFL players can’t all play 80 games running up and down a court and NBA players can’t play the physical game NFL players do. Either way, professional athletes are WELL COMPENSATED for the “job” they do.

  30. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I think Baker’s comments about the NBA salaries vs NFL is more directed in general rather than to his specific pay.
    After all, we probably wouldn’t have attracted him if it weren’t for him wanting to make more money. There is nothing wrong with players playing for money and wanting more… is a motivation for most all of us.
    I don’t think it’s a problem as long as he produces….and I think he will.

  31. gotbbucs Says:

    He’s far from the only NFL player that has made mention of this before. Leave it alone or risk ostracizing a player that this team needs in order to get over that proverbial “hump”.

  32. Danny Mac Says:

    Baseball players play one hundred sixty two games a year. More if they make the playoffs. Basketball and hockey over eighty games. NFL players. Sixteen,SIXTEEN. So a player might play a half an hour a game. Eight hours a season. Give me an effing break.Boo hoo.

  33. DB55 Says:

    Chris needs an attitude change? Why? Not choir boy enough for the TB media? What a shock!

    Dude is. Commenting on the fact the James Harden is making 70 million a year. Funny thing is that LVD tweeted something similar like – NBA I’m ready just call me. Are we to conclude that LVD wants to quit the team?

    Seriously ya really need to get over yourselves and your self righteousness. No one that mattesr or that will actually help us win cares about your opinion and rightfully so. All it does is alienate players and cause superstars to sign with the competition.

  34. jerseybuc Says:

    Save the comments about the NBA for the fellas in the locker room, fans who pay $12 for a beer don’t want to hear it big guy. Where does he think the additional money is gonna come from?

  35. Mann in Memphis Says:

    Come on now Ira.. Really? You’re gonna write a whole column on a harmless tweet? I know it’s the slow season but don’t turn into Tom Jones now..
    It’s not all about 1 Tweet. Why make stuff up?–Joe

  36. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    I jokingly complain abt my pay all the time. Is there truth behind the joke? Sure, errbody wants more. Does it mean that im not the hardest working person at my job. No it doesnt

  37. Not there yet Says:

    Well if he wants nba money my suggestion is develop a jump shot. There’s more money in the nba because teams only pay 15 player including guys who don’t dress I think plus the contacts are fully garaunteed. Good thing I believe he won’t make or break the season in terms of how good the defense can be. Not every player on your roster will have their head on straight. He’s not a key piece and never will be

  38. Wausa Says:

    So far not so good is how I view Baker.
    If he doesn’t play well or is injured fans will be pushing for him to be cut.

  39. MIKE Says: