New Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon already has his hands full in Arizona, and things got even more interesting just weeks ahead of the NFL Draft, with safety Budda Baker requesting a trade.
It was reported prior to Baker’s announcement, that the team was open to trade talks for him and DeAndre Hopkins, partly due to the Cardinals not having enough money to pay the two the kind of extensions they’re looking for. Once Baker’s name was out there, he made it clear that he’s looking to play elsewhere.
Sure, the money is one thing, but it’s still very interesting that Baker would rather not play out his contract under former Eagles DC Gannon. Baker pushed for Vance Joseph to be promoted to head coach and probably isn’t sure keen about their decision to hire Gannon instead, according to Walter Mitchell from Revenge of the Birds.
“Four years ago, after the Cardinals’ defense was 32nd in the league in yards given up per game at 400.4, Budda was successful in convincing the Cardinals’ front office to hang on to Vance Joseph as the team’s DC. Budda put forth a cogent argument —- saying that Vance was his and some of his teammates’ third DC in 3 years.
However, this year Budda championed like mad for the Cardinals to promote Vance to head coach — not just making his case to Michael Bidwill, but also to Monti Ossenfort. While Ossenfort said that “Budda Baker represents everything we want our organization to be” —- at the end of the day, the FO hired Jonathan Gannon and Vance moved back to Denver as the Broncos’ DC.”
The safety would certainly be a fun addition to the Eagles secondary if Howie Roseman could figure a way to work it out. Baker is just 27 years old and has six years of experience, which includes being named to five Pro Bowls and was twice a First-Team All Pro. He’s amassed 650 total tackles (four seasons with 100-plus), 34 passes defended, 7 interceptions (6 returned for TDs), 6 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries (1 returned for a TD), and 7.5 sacks.
Baker has also managed to stay relatively healthy, missing just five games thus far in his career, and lining up for no fewer than 95 percent of snaps since 2018. He’s been a team captain and someone who is very respected in the locker room, and ultimately is worth every penny for the team who ends up making the trade.
The Eagles did lose C.J. Gardner-Johnson in free agency, who ended up signing an $8 million deal with the Lions. CJGJ reportedly took too long to assess his options, and Philly decided to move on and allocate some of the funds set aside for the safety to re-signing James Bradberry. Roseman and Co. certainly have the draft capital to make this kind of trade happen with the Cardinals, but Baker’s salary might be the deal breaker.
If a team were to trade for Budda Baker, here is what he is currently owed on his contract:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 14, 2023
Baker is one of the more unique defensive players in the league given his versatility and on-ball production. https://t.co/59wKQDRam9
Still, Budda Baker in Philadelphia would be dynamic alongside Darius Slay and James Bradberry.
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