Budda Baker has been a good soldier for the Arizona Cardinals throughout the offseason program, despite the star safety back in April, and even reported to training camp. Thursday, the Cardinals found a way to get him some extra financial security.
Per NFL Media, Baker has agreed to receive $2.4 million in bonuses and incentives this season. This includes a $300,000 signing bonus. Additionally, Baker reportedly received a raise for next season as well.
During a June 30 segment on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football," Mike Garafolo relayed a text he received from Baker's agent, David Mulugheta, that gave more context to his client's situation and standing with the team.
"He doesn't want to be the highest-paid safety. He never said that," Mulugheta told Garafolo. "He just wants to be paid fairly for what he brings to the table. He told the team before the season that he wanted to go play for a contender and that he didn't want to be part of a rebuild. ... [I believe] it's time the Cardinals extend Budda if they believe he is a part of their future plans."
Back in the summer of 2020, Baker inked a four-year, $59 million extension with Arizona, which, at the time, made him the highest-paid safety in NFL history. He was set to make roughly $13.1 million in base salary for the 2023 season and $14.2 million in 2024. Baker's $14.75 million in average annual salary coming into this season currently ranks seventh among safeties.
The Cardinals do appear to be on the verge of a rebuild after hiring first-time head coach Jonathan Gannon and GM Monti Ossenfort this offseason. With Kyler Murray still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered late last season, Arizona is not expected to be particularly competitive in 2023 as Caesars Sportsbook has their win total prop set at 4.5.
Baker has spent his entire career with Arizona after the club selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Washington. Over his tenure, he's developed into one of the best safeties that the league has to offer. He's been named to the Pro Bowl five times and was a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and 2020 while earning a second-team All-Pro nod in 2021.
In 15 games last season, Baker finished with 111 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions. For his career, Baker has 650 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 34 pass breakups and seven interceptions.