The Arizona Cardinals are making Budda Baker the highest-paid safety in NFL history.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Cards and Baker agreed to a four-year, $59 million extension with $33.1 million guaranteed.
The $14.75 million-per-year average in new money on the extension puts Baker atop the safety market, leapfrogging Eddie Jackson's $14.6 million on his five-year extension. Landon Collins' six-year, $84 million deal is the top overall deal, which came in at $14 million per year.
Baker entered the final year of his rookie contract set to make $1.396 million in base salary.
The safety market has been depressed for years, and Baker barely outdistancing Jackson's per-year average didn't blow the lid off (like George Kittle did for the tight end market). Still, becoming the highest-paid player at his position is a feather in Baker's cap and underscores his worth to Arizona.
In three seasons, the former second-round pick compiled 323 tackles, 3.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 14 passes broken up. Oddly, Baker, now the NFL's highest-paid safety, hasn't had a single INT in three years.
A roving play-maker, Baker, can produce all over the formation, provides relentless ball pursuit, brings the hammer when he arrives, tracks tight ends and running backs alike, covers the deep-third, and is a team leader. Despite supposedly lacking size at 5-foot-10, Baker plays big, proving he can be a thumper in the secondary.
In three seasons, Baker was named to the Pro Bowl twice and first-team All-Pro (special teams) as a rookie.
Locking down Baker long-term was a priority for a defense that looks to make a leap in 2020 with Defensive Player of the Year candidate Chandler Jones, a rejuvenated Patrick Peterson and rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons.