Jason Baker signed the richest deal in league history this week for a punter, coming to terms with Carolina on a $1.7 million per year extension that gives $2 million up front. Baker, sent to Carolina in 2005 along with a 7th round draft pick for Todd Sauerbrun, signed a lucrative 2 year, $1.8 million deal last year. This year's raise is much more significant, however, and the $8.5 million contract is a milestone and an indication of the impact of salary cap increases on minor contracts. Baker did increase his gross punting from 43.3 to 45.7, third in the league, without losing net, and had 3rd most punts inside the 20.
A team that franchised a punter just four years ago (only time in NFL history it's happened, and the only player the team has franchised) now has a second franchise level player, paywise at least, at the same position. Let's hope this one works out better - Sauerbrun didn't make it two years after being franchised.
Dante Rosario also signed - the 5th round pick is the first 2007 draft pick to sign with Carolina. The Oregon product seems to be a long term Nick Goings replacement - or possibly just replacing Goings' old roles so Goings himself can contribute more as a RB. A taller, stockier, slower Goings, Rosario can play TE or FB and will probably occupy some of both roles (but isn't quite squatty enough to get low at fullback), a role Goings played as a motion fullback spelling Brad Hoover in more exotic formations.