Pats losing benefit of doubt on FA pickups?

Remember when the New York Jets cut tight end Chris Baker and the New England Patriots pounced on him?

There was a sense the Jets had made a grave error. When the Patriots sign somebody, there's an assumption he's going to shine. That Baker would get to face his old team twice a year made it seem like bad news for the Jets.

On Thursday, the Jets looked even smarter and the Patriots a little less wise.

The Patriots released Baker after one unsatisfying season. He caught 14 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.

The Patriots' decision to release Baker was a curious one because they're thin at tight end. Benjamin Watson is an unrestricted free agent. The only tight ends on their roster are Rob Myers and Robbie Agnone, a pair of undrafted rookies on last year's practice squad.

Baker joins a long list of failed 2009 acquisitions that put a dent into the Patriots' reputation for salvaging veterans.

They were successful with cornerback Leigh Bodden and outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, but they also misfired on receivers Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis and tight end Alex Smith. The jury's still out on running back Fred Taylor, who missed much of last season because of ankle surgery and will be back in 2010.