On Friday, Arizona Cardinals’ All-Pro safety Budda Baker requested a trade from the team unless he receives a new contract. Wow, the Cardinals have had quite the poor offseason, haven’t they?
They lost two defensive studs in Byron Murphy and Zach Allen in free agency. JJ Watt also retired, and Kyler Murray’s torn ACL is going to greatly impact the Cardinals’ 2023 season. Not only that, they’ve got a new head coach and new general manager.
But now, the most recent development involves their best defensive player in Budda Baker, who recently requested a trade from the team or a new contract that makes him the highest paid safety in football.
This request apparently came last month but is just now being reported on. Baker, recently 27, is a five time Pro Bowler and a two time All-Pro who was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Washington.
In six career seasons, Baker has missed just five games. He’s accumulated seven interceptions, 34 passes defended, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, 7.5 sacks, 650 total tackles, and 32 tackles for loss.
He’s truly a do-it-all defensive back and is easily their best player not named Kyler Murray.
What should the Cardinals do here, though?
They do need an infusion of talent on both sides of the ball, so if they could net a couple of draft picks for Baker, that could go a long way in rebuilding a team that was just one year removed from making the playoffs back in 2021.
However, Baker is still just 27 years old and is clearly in the prime of his career, so extending him and making him the highest paid safety in the NFL might be a decision that the Cardinals make.
He’d surely have a ton of suitors, so I think what I would do if I as GM Monti Ossenfort is see what kind of trade package you could get back in return for Baker.
If you think it’s adequate enough, make the trade.
If not, try to come to an agreement on a contract extension. Sure, this process is much more nuanced that what I just made it seem, but I’d personally approach a trade before a new contract.