Cardinals, S Budda Baker Reach Resolution

3:39pm: More specifics on this agreement have surfaced, thanks to’s Howard Balzer. The Cardinals are guaranteeing Baker’s $13.1MM base salary for this year, which had previously been nonguaranteed. Seeing as salaries for vested veterans become guaranteed days before Week 1, this is a modest concession regarding a player of Baker’s caliber.

Additionally, the team included up to $200K in per-game roster bonuses this year and sprinkled in a $400K workout bonus in 2024, Balzer tweets. The incentive package reaches $750K in each of the next two seasons, per Balzer, with $500K coming Baker’s way if he earns All-Pro or Pro Bowl recognition. Baker’s 2024 base remains nonguaranteed.

12:07pm: Budda Baker issued a trade request months ago, expressing dissatisfaction with his contract. While the standout Cardinals safety remains tied to the through-2024 deal he inked in 2020, the team has provided some sweeteners.

The Cardinals and Baker agreed on an incentive and bonus package Thursday, Ian Rapoport of tweets. The update totals $2.4MM for this year, per Rapoport, who adds the seventh-year safety will receive a $300K signing bonus. An unspecified raise is also in place for 2024.

The benchmarks included here are unclear, but a compromise will keep Baker in the fold in Arizona for the time being. Baker’s 2020 extension (four years, $59MM) had tied him to base salaries of $13.1MM for 2023 and $14.2MM for ’24. An updated report noted Baker was not demanding to be the NFL’s highest-paid safety — as he was when he signed this contract three summers ago — but the 27-year-old defender has sought a deal that would place him near the top of the market.

This disagreement also hinged on Baker’s desire to play for a contender. The Cards’ defensive leader relayed that desire to the team’s previous regime before the start of last season. At that point, Arizona was coming off a playoff berth and had extended Steve Keim, Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray the following offseason. After a 4-13 season, the organization is starting over. Key defensive pieces from last season — J.J. Watt, Zach Allen, Byron Murphy — are gone, and a new coaching staff and front office are in place. Signs point to a rebuild commencing in the desert. But the Cards clearly wanted to keep Baker in the fold.

A compromise here may not be enough to dissuade Baker from seeking a trade again, but for now, he will be a training camp participant with the team that drafted him.

The Cardinals have relied on Baker’s production and leadership for years and have continued to receive Pro Bowl-caliber play from the former second-round pick. Baker has started 83 games for the team. As Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James and others have secured extensions, Baker’s has dropped in the position’s pecking order. The one-time position-record deal has slipped to seventh, with James’ record-setting AAV more than $4MM higher than Baker’s ($14.75MM). But standouts at just about every position see their deals leapfrogged as time passes. With two years remaining on Baker’s pact, the Cardinals agreed to a short-term solution rather than complete a full-on redo.

While the Cardinals have moved on from the above-referenced veteran defenders and released DeAndre Hopkins this offseason, they still employ their longstanding Baker-Jalen Thompson safety pair. James Conner, Zach Ertz, D.J. Humphries, Kelvin Beachum, Will Hernandez and Marquise Brown represent the veteran contingent on offense. Murray and Ertz are on the team’s active/PUP list, and the Pro Bowl quarterback may well miss time to start the season. But the Cards do have a number of veteran holdovers from the Keim-Kingsbury era set to debut with Jonathan Gannon and Monti Ossenfort. Baker sits at the top of that list and is now set for his seventh season with the franchise.

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