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Patriots release TE Baker

The Patriots announced that veteran tight end Chris Baker has been released today.

Baker was signed as a free-agent last offseason, and he finished with 14 receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns in 2009, with his primary impact coming as a blocker. With fellow tight end Benjamin Watson scheduled for unrestricted free agency, the Patriots have a considerable void to fill at the position.

Baker's contract had extended through 2013, although there was a significant bonus prior to the 2011 season that essentially made it a two-year deal. He was scheduled to earn $2 million in base salary this season.

The Patriots are also operating without an official tight ends coach at this time, so this is a spot where there figures to be significant turnover in 2010.