Arizona Cardinals star safety Budda Baker is unhappy with the organization. The five-time Pro Bowler sent out a cryptic message on social media recently while removing all mention of the Cardinals from his bios.
NFL insiders then indicated that this is a situation worth monitoring. That came immediately ahead of ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting that Baker has indeed requested a trade.
Despite his status as one of the top defensive backs in the entire NFL, Baker is somewhat underpaid. He ranks seventh among safeties with an average annual salary of $14.75 million and 16th among defensive backs.
- Budda Baker contract: 4 years, $59 million; team option for 2024
Arizona is clearly in full-scale rebuild mode under new head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort. It has another star veteran in that of DeAndre Hopkins on the trade block.
Sportsnaut NFL insider Benjamin Allbright also reported recently that the Cardinals are looking to stockpile draft assets. Moving off a three-time All-Pro performer who is still only 27 years old would do just that. Below, we look at four ideal trade scenarios involving Baker.
Philadelphia Eagles land Pro Bowler
- Eagles get: Budda Baker
- Cardinals get: 30th pick in 2023 NFL Draft
The defending NFC champions lost star safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the Detroit Lions in NFL free agency. Philadelphia simply wasn’t willing to pony up the bucks for him. What makes us think that general manager Howie Roseman and Co. would deal away a first-round pick while paying Baker top-end money?
Well, it’s rather simple. He’s a better all-around player than Gardner-Johnson. Baker allowed just 30 completions in 15 games last season. Back in 2021, he gave up a mere 73.4 QB rating when targeted. The former Washington star is also among the top blitzing defensive backs in the game. In short, he’s a perfect fit in Philly.
Dallas Cowboys pull off blockbuster trade
- Cowboys get: Budda Baker
- Cardinals get: 58th overall pick in 2023, 2nd-round pick in 2024
If the Cardinals do indeed trade Baker, they might look for multiple picks instead of a late first rounder. It all depends on how Ossenfort and Co. want to build this roster. But two second rounders could be a nice haul.
This hypothetical trade enables Dallas to retain its first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The team is said to be targeting cornerbacks at 26th overall. It also gives the Cowboys a truly elite safety to pair up with the surprising Donovan Wilson. Baker would be an obvious upgrade over Malik Hooker in the secondary with Wilson sliding more to a free safety role.
Related: Updated NFL Draft rumors
Pittsburgh Steelers surprise with big time trade
- Steelers get: Budda Baker
- Cardinals get: 32nd overall pick, 120th overall pick
Pittsburgh typically doesn’t get involved in blockbuster trades. The team’s MO has been to build from within. Though, the aquisition of fellow safety Minkah Fitzpatrick early in the 2019 season changed the dynamics a bit.
What we do know is that the Steelers have been surprisingly active in NFL free agency. Newish general manager Omar Khan might want to keep that going. Acquiring Baker with the pick it received in the Chase Claypool trade last season would be an absolute boon. Imagine him teaming up with Fitzpatrick at safety. That would be the most dominating duo in the league.
Miami Dolphins punt on 2023 NFL Draft
- Dolphins get: Budda Baker
- Cardinals get: 51st overall pick in 2023, 2nd-round pick in 2024
It’s no surprise that the Dolphins have only four picks heading into the 2023 NFL Draft. Being dinged a first rounder in addition to using another Day 1 pick to acquire Bradley Chubb has the win-now team looking to build in other ways.
Why not offer up their second-round pick to find an upgrade over Brandon Jones at strong safety? Baker’s versatility would make for one of the best defensive backs groups in the NFL after the Fins acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Los Angeles Rams to pair up with Xavien Howard. It almost makes too much sense.