Chris Baker established himself as a quality defensive tackle in the past five-plus seasons with the Washington Redskins.

He was hoping to stick with them even with his contract ready to expire after the 2016 season. But Baker said no offer was made, allowing him to become a free agent.

‘I really worked my way up from the practice squad to being one of the best linemen’

He’s happy to be with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the pain from the Redskins’ rejection lingers.

“It was really hurtful learning that the Redskins didn’t really offer me a contract, being that I was one of their best defensive linemen on their team for the last couple of years and really worked my way up from the practice squad to being one of the best linemen,” Baker told Lance Meadow and Phil Savage on Late Hits. “And for them not to offer me was very hurtful, but I understand it’s a business and I’m very happy to move forward with the Buccaneers and I think I really have a bright future there.”

‘They’re just a few key players away from really taking that next step’

Baker is looking forward to the chance to be part of something special with the Buccaneers. He sees them as a team on the rise.

“They’re just a few key players away from really taking that next step and becoming an elite team,” he said. “And, hopefully, myself and (former Redskins wide receiver) DeSean Jackson and the rest of the guys that came in and can help them get to that next step.”

Baker expects being paired in the middle with fellow tackle Gerald McCoy will help give the Bucs’ a dominant front.

‘I think we complement each other very well’

“I think we complement each other very well,” he said. “We both are really good defensive tackles. We both can rush the passer and we both are able to stop the run. Having two elite defensive tackles in the middle of the defense, I’m pretty sure will really help their defense out and I know that we’ll play really good off of each other and be a dominant front.”

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