Sunday night football was a belter. Best game of the season so far. NFC West rivalry match up, between the long term successful Seattle Seahawks, and the up and coming challengers, the Arizona Cardinals. Russ vs Kyler. Hopkins & Metcalf. But the man of the hour was Budda Baker.
A surprise contract?
Before the season started, the Cardinals made a statement by paying Budda Baker $59 million dollars over four years. A significant amount of money, and the most an NFL safety has ever received. They set the record because clearly they believe in the young mans worth.
Baker, the 24 year old safety out of Washington, was selected by the Cardinals in the 2nd round in 2017. Before he began his fourth year in the league, Arizona gave him an incentive to go on to be the greatest safety in the league, by paying him as such.
Admittedly, I was surprised to see the contract. Not because I don’t believe in Budda Baker, but because I just hadn’t heard enough about him up until this point, to understand where the contract came from. Also considering the fact that he hadn’t had a single interception in his career at the time the contract was agreed.
Of course, interceptions are not all that matters, and Baker had a career high 104 solo tackles in 2019. He’s also forced 4 fumbles in his first 3 years, and 3.5 sacks.
Budda Baker’s contribution can’t be overlooked, and he’s also only missed two games across all three seasons.
Prime time Sunday night in season four, we all saw exactly what the Cardinals saw in Budda Baker that led to them paying him so heavily. He made his point, and he looked like the best player in the league the entire game.
Every time a big tackle was made, or a statement play, it seemed to be him. 11 solo tackles, 14 total. 1 tackle for loss, and of course a critical interception, that he ALMOST took to the house, if it wasn’t for the super human athleticism of DK Metcalf. One of the most impressive plays i’ve seen. Had Seattle won the game, that one effort would have impressed me more than Locketts three touchdowns. Just a miraculous effort. Way to not give up on a play.
Anyway, Budda Baker. It all makes sense to me now. He’s the guy you look for now as a quarterback. Where is he. Is he in the box, sitting deep, and where’s he going to end up when the balls snapped. He could be anywhere, he has all the tools. Blitzing off the edge, through the middle, a sub linebacker, a deep safety, and holy hell when he comes downhill and makes a tackle you’re going to know about it.
One of the leagues best?
Look out for Budda Baker, he’s having one hell of a season. Worth every penny so far, and with a guy like that on defence, you can really build an entire scheme around putting him in the best position to make a play, and deceiving the offence on every drive.
Let’s not forget Isaiah Simmons was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round this year, and has barely seen the field. He did pick up an interception this week, but played a very minimal amount of snaps. Over time, if they can get the full potential out of Simmons, with great corners in Patrick Peterson and Byron Murphy, this could be a really elite secondary. The pass rush needs some work, i’d like to see a super star added there, maybe something to address in the draft.
The Cardinals made a statement on Sunday night. A statement that cost me a lot of money of course, but all the same. Look out for Kyler Murray, Budda Baker, and the Arizona Cardinals. I love the way their future looks.