Arizona Cardinals superstar safety Budda Baker has requested a trade, according to multiple reports. The five-time Pro Bowler informed the Cardinals in February that he wanted to be traded or receive a new deal to make him the highest-paid safety, per Adam Schefter.
Baker signed a four-year extension worth $59 million ahead of the 2020 campaign. The Cardinals made Baker the highest-paid safety, earning an annual salary of $14.75 million. The safety market has consistently been reset with Derwin James earning a league-leading average of $19.1 million. Baker is owed $13.1 million this season and $14.2 million in 2024, per Spotrac.
Baker is a two-time All-Pro that led the Cardinals with 111 tackles and two interceptions in 2022. Baker’s market will be red-hot with potential suitors. We’ve identified three potential landing spots for Budda Baker.
The Eagles were immediately linked to acquiring Baker, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. It’s easy to understand why the Eagles would possess an interest in pursuing Baker. General manager Howie Roseman has always placed value on the safety position, and the Eagles are expected to compete for another Super Bowl appearance in 2023.
The Philadelphia Eagles lost both 2022 starters (Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps) in free agency. As things stand, inexperienced sophomore Reed Blankenship and low-cost free agent signing Terrell Edmunds are penciled in to start at safety. Roseman will almost certainly add to this group before training camp arrives. Whether Roseman does that via a big-time acquisition like Baker or a draft pick remains to be seen. Philadelphia would be high on Baker’s wishlist.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
The Packers arguably have the worst group of safeties in the NFL. Veteran Adrian Amos remains an unrestricted free agent and isn’t expected back in Green Bay. Darnell Savage currently spearheads the position, but Savage was benched for stretches of poor play throughout the 2022 campaign. Savage was abysmal in coverage, having allowed 23 receptions on 36 targets and 14.4 yards per reception, via Pro Football Focus. Opposing quarterbacks enjoyed a passer rating of 100.7 when targeting Savage.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst signed Tarvarius Moore to a one-year deal in free agency worth a little more than the veteran minimum. Moore, who played a grand total of 28 coverage snaps in 2022, isn’t a long-term solution. Gutekunst hasn’t made the appropriate splash at safety. Trading for Baker would qualify.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler hasn’t injected enough talent into his secondary this offseason. Ziegler signed the likes of the aforementioned Epps (Eagles) and Brandon Facyson, among others, but they’re hardly considered needle-movers for a defense that allowed a 29th-ranked 242.9 passing yards per game. The Raiders aren’t equipped to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham coached some excellent safeties throughout his tenures with the Patriots and Giants. Graham would appreciate an opportunity to coach Baker. Acquiring Baker would push Epps to a No. 3 safety role, which is more appropriate for his skill set.
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