Things are now uncomfortable between the Arizona Cardinals and Budda Baker

New Orleans Saints v Arizona Cardinals
New Orleans Saints v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The new Arizona Cardinals regime isn't going to be strong-armed into giving in to the five-time Pro Bowl safety's salary demands.

When Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill hired Monti Ossenfort back in January, what he was really acquiring for his franchise was a business man. The 45-year-old was brought to the desert to do a job, and sentimentality doesn't appear to have a place in the plan of the Cards' brand-new general manager.

A prime example of that is Budda Baker, the seventh-year pro who is not a happy camper at the present time. According to reports, the hard-hitting safety went to Ossenfort and asked for more money. When that didn't work, Baker was once again rebuffed when he asked to be traded.

When it comes down to it, Ossenfort simply isn't going to be strong-armed into giving into a player who's demanding more money. Not even if the individual in question happens to be the heart and soul of the Cardinals defense. Is the front office's unwillingness to hand over more dough to Baker a sign of disrespect to the five-time Pro Bowler?

Actually, Arizona's GM has a pretty good argument as to why he's not willing to fork over more cash to Baker. According to, the former second-round draft pick is scheduled to collect over $27 million in base salary over the next two seasons. Ossenfort obviously feels that's a fair amount of coin for a veteran defensive back who'll be 29 years of age at the end of his current deal.

Arizona Cardinals want Budda Baker to honor the final two years of his current contract

Giving credit where credit is due, Baker is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in Cards history. Last fall, the 5 foot 10,195 pounder was still at the top of his game, tallying 111 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes defensed in just 15 starts. In his seven NFL campaigns, Baker has racked up 650 tackles, seven picks, 34 pass breakups and 7.5 sacks for the "Big Red" defensive unit.

At the same time, Ossenfort is aware that every athlete hits the wall at some point in their career. Just last year, former GM Steve Keim basically paid a couple of Cardinals edge-rushers handsomely for what they had accomplished in the past. What the squad got in return for Keim's generosity was a pathetic 3.5 sacks combined from Markus Golden and Dennis Gardeck.

Ossenfort doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor, and who could blame him? The longtime league executive's main goal is to deliver a first-ever Super Bowl championship to a long-suffering franchise. If hurting the feelings of one of Arizona's most-cherished contributors is one of the necessary evils of achieving that goal, then so be it.

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(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)