Extension should be coming for Arizona Cardinals safety
A contract extension for Pro Bowler Budda Baker should be high up on the priority list of the Arizona Cardinals front office
Three years ago, during the 2017 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals identified a prospect that they absolutely had to have. The club took action, moving up nine spots in the second round to secure a safety out of the University of Washington. That player, Budda Baker, has been everything that the Cardinals franchise could’ve hoped for and more during his time in the desert.
With three outstanding campaigns now under his belt, the highly productive Baker will be eligible for a significant salary bump in the near future. The 24-year old, according to Spotrac.com, is due to earn just $1.4 million this coming fall. It’s the last year of Baker’s rookie contract, and the miniscule money he’ll receive could very well be one of the NFL’s biggest bargains of 2020.
That scenario could change dramatically if Arizona general manager Steve Keim can negotiate a extension with Baker and his agent this summer. The 5’10, 194 pounder’s resume is impressive, and is one that should give him ample leverage at the bargaining table. Baker has already been invited to two Pro Bowls, and his numbers rank him among the top safeties in pro football.
As a first-year performer back in ’17, Baker racked up 74 tackles, seven passes defensed and a sack in 16 appearances (seven starts) for the squad. Not all of the youngster’s contributions came on the defensive side of the ball, however. It was Baker’s prowess on the Cards special teams that got him invited to the Pro Bowl following his outstanding rookie campaign.
In 2018, Baker appeared in 14 contests for the Cardinals, and was credited with 13 starts. The Washington native totaled 102 tackles (eight for a loss) and two sacks during his second year in the league. Baker tallied an eye-popping 147 tackles and six pass breakups in 16 starts for the team in 2019, earning him the second Pro Bowl invitation of his young career.
Two trips to the All-star contest in three seasons with Arizona. Not bad for an individual who has yet to enter the prime of his career. Just one of several reasons why an extension for the immensely talented Baker should be high up on the Cards priority list.