Despite being heralded as one of the team’s franchise players, it appears that the Arizona Cardinals could trade Budda Baker. Recently, Baker posted a cryptic GIF of Michael Jordan on Twitter, while also removing all the Cardinals-related content.
— Budda Baker (@Buddabaker3) April 13, 2023
As it stands, it is unclear how severe the situation is. Is Baker’s trade initiated by him? Some insiders have said that he is currently frustrated with the franchise. It is believed that his request for an extension was not as smooth as he expected, resulting in his dissatisfaction.
Or, perhaps, the Cardinals are shopping him around. Under the new leadership of Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon, the Cardinals are experiencing a mass rebuild. DeAndre Hopkins will be traded soon, and the team is also looking to flip the third overall pick for extra draft capital. Is Baker’s trade the next twist? It had originally appeared that only Baker and Kyler Murray were safe from the exodus, but now it appears that Arizona’s flash sale extends to every asset on the team.
Either way, given Arizona’s inability to keep their key talent happy has tortured this franchise in recent history. Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, and a number of former executives are among just some of the figures that have been vocal in their criticism of the organization. Is Baker the next in line?
If you’re going to use Budda Baker as the model player for this franchise, like Monti and JG both did, you better walk the walk after talking the talk. https://t.co/eSD2HNcdit
— Jody Oehler (@radiojody) April 14, 2023
Trade Value for Budda Baker
In 2022, Baker managed a 73.7 PFF grade. He made 110 tackles, one forced fumble, and two picks. The 27-year-old is widely considered one of the NFL’s top hybrid safeties and has attended 5 Pro Bowls and was named to the First-Team All-Pro twice.
Baker’s contract runs out in 2025 but cutting/restructuring his contract could free up more than $13 million in 2024. His cap hit for 2023 is $16.9 million. His trade value would likely be slightly less than what the New York Jets netted for Jamal Adams in 2020. Adams and a future fourth were swapped for Bradley McDougald, two firsts and a third. While Baker is a more established player than Adams was, his larger cap hit would mean that two firsts are unlikely, especially given that many viewed the trade for Adams as an overpay.
What are the likeliest trade destinations for Baker?
5 Trade Destinations for Budda Baker
New England Patriots
A trade for Baker would be a huge addition for Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots. Baker is just the kind of player that would buy into the Patriots culture, and Belichick has spoken highly of Baker before. The Patriots re-signed Jabrill Peppers but lost Devin McCourty to retirement. Kyle Dugger is penciled in as Peppers’ safety partner but Baker would be an immediate upgrade. The 27-year-old would also be an excellent motivator and leader for the traditionally physical Patriots defense.
The Miami Dolphins have been aggressive in trading for elite talent of late. Making a trade for Baker would continue that trend. Miami’s current strong safety is DeShon Elliott. With Vic Fangio as their new defensive coordinator, Baker could be a huge upgrade over Elliott and also give Fangio a bit more flexibility (as Baker can play in the slot as well as deep).
The Detroit Lions recently traded away Jeff Okudah. It appears that the team is keen to rebuild its secondary. The new Cardinals assistant general manager is Dave Sears, formerly of the Lions. Baker’s mentality and high character also fit with Dan Campbell’s philosophy. Therefore, the Lions would be an excellent trade destination for Baker.
The Cincinnati Bengals are on the brink of a Super Bowl. With Joe Burrow at the helm, the team look as competitive as ever. A player that could send them over the top? Defensive playmaker Baker. After losing both Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell, safety is a need. Baker would be an upgrade and mentor for both Nick Scott and Dax Hill. He would be able to replicate some of what Bates and Bell provided for Lou Anarumo’s defense.
Kansas City Chiefs
This list certainly would not be complete without the Kansas City Chiefs. Every day, the Chiefs look closer and closer to becoming a dynasty (if they are not already). Baker would help sustain their dominance and would bring fresh playmaking ability to the Chiefs secondary, which would certainly benefit from some All-Pro talent. This is especially the case after the team lost Juan Thornhill this off-season.
Other Trade Destinations for Budda Baker
Aside from those five, another team to watch could be the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost Chauncey Gardner-Johnson this off-season. Their defense could do with some replenishing after free agency. With Sean Desai coming over from Seattle, Baker could be utilized in an Adams-esque fashion.
The Tennessee Titans are another team on the periphery. Ossenfort was formerly of the Titans and is believed to be discussing with his former team about the third overall pick and Hopkins already. Tennessee would certainly benefit from acquiring Baker, and his high motor makes him a good fit for Mike Vrabel’s side.
As it stands, the New York Giants could also benefit from a trade for Baker. Xavier McKinney is a standout safety. A partnership of McKinney and Baker would be among the best safety tandems in the NFL.
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