There is mounting unrest in the desert.
Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker has requested a trade from the Arizona Cardinals, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday.
The news of Baker seeking an exit from Glendale comes after some cryptic social media activity in which he posted a Michael Jordan gif in regard to it becoming "personal with me" and removed the “AZ” in his Twitter bio. Following reports surfacing Friday, though, Baker returned to social media and expressed his appreciation for the only NFL fanbase he's played for so far.
The 27-year-old has been a model of stellar play, leadership and toughness in his time with the Cardinals.
Though Arizona sputtered to a 4-13 season last year with the defense ranking 31st in points allowed, Baker still shined to the tune of a Pro Bowl selection and the fourth 100-tackle season of his career.
He has two seasons remaining on his current contract after signing a four-year, $59 million extension ahead of the 2020 campaign. Baker is due non-guaranteed base salaries of $13.09 million and $14.2 million in 2023 and 2024, respectively. Currently, he is the seventh-highest-paid safety on an annual basis, per Over the Cap.
Baker has long been a locker room leader for the Cards while establishing himself as one of the NFL's top safeties in a short time. A rookie Pro Bowler and All-Pro, Baker has made five Pro Bowls in his six seasons since he was selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
For one of the pillars of the franchise to want out is an emphatic occurrence for a club that's amid a parade of change and turbulence.
Rookie head coach Jonathan Gannon has replaced the fired Kliff Kingsbury, while Monti Ossenfort is also in his first year on the job as general manager -- succeeding Steve Keim. Franchise quarterback Kyler Murray is rehabbing from ACL surgery and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the 2023 season. Star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins' future seems to be in limbo as he remains the center of trade talks. And cheating allegations surfaced this offseason against ownership, per reports.
However, there are rumblings of new uniforms being on the way.
Apparently, Baker isn't keen on being around to wear one of them.