Cardinals star defender Budda Baker has made it clear he wants to be traded, and his request sounds eerily similar to that of another player at his position.
Cardinals safety Budda Baker voiced his desire to be traded a few days ago, following in the footsteps of another player at his position who tried to secure his bag earlier this offseason.
Baker reportedly told the Arizona Cardinals back in February that he wanted to be paid as a top-of-the-market safety or otherwise get traded. He signed a four-year extension in 2020 that made him the highest-paid safety at the time and was looking for another deal in the same ballpark.
The Cardinals already have their hands full with star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and are undergoing a massive rebuild in the wake of Kliff Kingsbury’s firing and a plethora of roster adjustments.
Baker is currently owed around $13 million in 2023 and $14 million in 2024, after which his contract ends.
His ongoing trade dilemma partly mirrors that of another disgruntled safety, former Philadelphia Eagles C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
Budda Baker joins C.J. Gardner-Johnson as another disgruntled NFL safety
Gardner-Johnson and the Eagles appeared to share a mutual interest toward an extension after the 2022 season, when the 25-year-old star safety led the league with six interceptions and developed into a core piece of the backfield.
However, Gardner-Johnson was dissatisfied with the multi-year deal Philly apparently offered him at the start of the offseason and decided to test the market instead.
He realized too late that he had overvalued himself and ended up signing with the Detroit Lions on a dirt cheap one-year deal.
Baker’s situation is a tad different due to his longstanding relationship with the Cards — he was drafted by Arizona in the second round in 2017 and could unequivocally be considered the backbone of the team’s defense for the last six years.
Last season, he led the team with 111 tackles and recorded two interceptions, proving he’s still a key and effective member of the secondary. Will it be enough to garner a massive extension?
Depends on how much the Cards prioritize his re-signing. If, like the Eagles, they believe they can find a better value option elsewhere, Baker may be better off finding a new home.
In any case, Baker should make more than what Gardner-Johnson commanded given his experience and leadership qualities. He just won’t likely get top-of-the-market money.