The Arizona Cardinals have made Budda Baker the highest-paid safety in the league after handing him a four-year deal worth $59 million. Baker, who was selected by the Cardinals in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, had one year left on his rookie contract.
But the Cardinals see a lot of potential in their and they decided to reward him with a new hefty contract just before the start of the new season. Baker collected 147 tackles last season and led the league with 104 solo tackles — the only player with 100+ solo tackles last season.
The 24-year-old safety admitted it’s “cool” to be the highest-paid safety in the league. “It's definitely an exciting thing for me to be labeled [as the highest-paid safety in league history], to say that," Baker said, per ESPN.
"It was a very cool experience and it's a very cool experience right now. But, for me, I'm just trying to earn what I will make now. I'm labeled as this player and now I have to show out and continue to show out each and every week.
And that's my goals and my plans to do that."
Securing Baker long-term was Cardinals priority
“That's going to be something we're going to have to work through here in the future, knowing that we have to operate at a certain number," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said.
"But, Budda was at the top of our list and we knew that we had to get him extended, and we knew that we wanted him to be a core player here for a long time." Meanwhile, New York Jets running back LeVeon Bell spoke positively of Sam Darnold as he expects the team’s starting quarterback to have a big 2020 season.
“We just have to make sure he stays healthy," Bell said Monday with a twinkle in his eye. "I told him, 'No bars.' " “He has taken great command of the huddle. I think that's the biggest difference from Year 2 to 3.
"Sam is not really a rah-rah guy. He's not really loud and he's not really a yell guy. He's real monotone and kind of calm. Everybody goes about their way differently. The way he does it, you want to follow him.
You want to listen to him and work hard for him. "Sam looks amazing this year. It's going to be fun."