Budda Baker’s raise further shows the Arizona Cardinals are not tanking

The Arizona Cardinals offseason was full of bad news, and Budda Baker’s demand for a raise caused quite a bit of uncertainty.

Nov 27, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) against the Los
Nov 27, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) against the Los / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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With quarterback Kyler Murray still working his way back from a torn ACL, Budda Baker has become the face of the Arizona Cardinals franchise for the time being. One of the NFL’s best safeties, Baker has a slew of accolades that include three All-Pro selections and five Pro Bowls. 

But with the Cardinals heading into a transitional season, or even a rebuilding year, there was speculation that the Redbirds could have ended up trading Baker. Given how bad the Cards are supposed to be in 2023 and with a new regime in place, the team easily could have traded Baker and acquired more early to mid-round draft picks, which would have indicated that they were indeed tanking in 2023. 

Now that Baker reworked his deal, it shows us that he will stick around in the desert and play for a team that is not tanking in the 2023 season. 

Budda Baker is one of several reasons the Arizona Cardinals are not tanking

Roughly two months ago, the Cardinals released DeAndre Hopkins, and a month before that, they seemed to be setting the stage for 2024 by piling double-digit draft picks. Across free agency, the Cards opted not to make a blockbuster signing, nor did they pick up any unquestioned starter apart from Kyzir White. 

But you don’t keep a star safety drafted by the old regime if you are truly tanking, and the Cardinals ended up convincing him to stay. You also trade away as many players from the old regime as you can if it makes financial sense. 

The Cardinals did none of that, and they are also anticipating star quarterback Kyler Murray to return to the field at some point. Once again, if you’re spending the season tanking, you don’t re-insert a former number one overall pick back into the lineup. 

Sure, the Arizona Cardinals have gotten younger and yes, they’ve also signed role player (at best) free agents. But if the team was really looking to throw away the 2023 season and look toward 2024, they would have traded, and not given Baker his payday.

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Source: Report: Cardinals gave Budda Baker raise before training camp by Arizona Sports