Falcons cut former first-rounder Sam Baker, who missed all of 2014

The Atlanta Falcons released often-injured offensive tackle Sam Baker on Monday.

Baker, a former first-round draft pick out of USC in 2008, missed all of last season after suffering a knee injury in the preseason. Baker had yet to return to the practice field from the injury prior to his release.

Baker, who also played in just four games during the 2013 season due to a knee injury, would have counted $7.3 million against the cap in 2015. His release provides a cap savings of $4.5 million this season.

Baker signed a six-year deal in March of 2013 worth $41.1 million that included a $10 million signing bonus.

Injuries kept Baker from maintaining a high level of performance at the left tackle position. The Falcons drafted their left tackle of the future last season in Jake Matthews, who is currently recovering from surgery to repair a Lisfranc ligament tear in his foot.

If Baker would have returned to health, he likely would have been out of the starting mix with the emergence of Ryan Schraeder at right tackle.

A source close to Baker said he was willing to make a switch to guard, if needed. However, the Falcons signed veteran Chris Chester to fill a starting role, likely at left guard.