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New England Patriots cut Baker - butcher and candlestick-maker worried

The Pats have released TE Chris Baker, following his 14 reception, 142 yard and 2 TD 2009 effort. This comes as a surprise - Ben Watson is off-contract and destined for free agency with a non-nonsense, show-me-the-money agent, so Baker looked likely to slide up into the number one TE slot if Watson does depart as expected.

It's even more surprising given how useful Baker was in the New England system as a blocker - he played in all the games, he was on the field 60% of the time, and Baker showed ability both as a pass-protector and run-blocker. Whether this is an indication that the Pats are coming to an agreement with Watson is pure speculation at this point, but it's interesting that they'd cut the heir apparent to the number one role when the stock of likely replacement TEs is thin on the ground - Watson would be the best TE to fall into free agency this year and the TEs in the upcoming draft seem more like pass-catchers than blockers.

Benjamin Watson re-signing? Draftees to come? Baker to re-sign after testing free agent waters? Speculate away, people...