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A New Message For Cardinals: 'Ego Will Not Be Tolerated'

Notes: Hopkins future to be discussed; possibilities of No. 3 draft pick

New Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (right) meets safety Budda Baker before Ossenfort's introductory press conference on Tuesday.
New Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (right) meets safety Budda Baker before Ossenfort's introductory press conference on Tuesday.

When Monti Ossenfort came for his recent interview for the Cardinals' vacant GM position, a photo of Cardinals safety Budda Baker hung on the wall of the room.

Ossenfort then recalled, when he was with the Patriots, interviewing Baker at the 2017 Scouting combine, and thinking at the end of the 20 minutes with Baker "I think I was ready to run through a brick wall for Budda Baker."

"Budda Baker represents everything we want this organization to be," the Cardinals new GM said Tuesday during his introductory press conference – a little while after meeting Baker in person in the locker room as one of his new players.

Baker fits exactly with what Ossenfort wants to fill his roster.

"We're not just collecting talent, we're going to build a team," Ossenfort said. "Ego will not be tolerated in this organization.

"(We want) people that are willing to put the team first every step of the way."

Baker was among the veterans owner Michael Bidwill said he would talk to as he worked to fill the GM and head coach roles. Bidwill was asked if the "ego" statement was because of those conversations.

"I think it is related, (but) it was described in a different way," Bidwill said. "We need more accountability. That is something Monti and I talked about and it's clear that is going to be an emphasis here."

DEANDRE HOPKINS FUTURE

With speculation about whether the Cardinals might trade away wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Bidwill said those kinds of discussions haven't been had yet with the GM's hire just hours old.

"We talked about a number of things, but that's one of the things (Ossenfort) is going to be evaluating," Bidwill said. "As he said, he's only been in the building a few hours and doesn't know his way around, so he'll be working on that in the coming weeks."

Hopkins is under contract through 2024 and carries a $30 million salary cap hit in 2023 and currently has no more guaranteed money. To trade him before June 1 would create a dead cap hit of more than $22M.

PICKING THIRD

While figuring out a new head coach, his own staff and then free agency will come first, Ossenfort knows the Cardinals are in a good place for the draft in owning the third overall pick, especially after Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud declared for the draft.

"I hope we don't pick third overall again," Ossenfort said. "The benefit is we are going to be able to pick a premium player and have them play on our team. The other benefit is that there could be (trade) calls for that pick. Every step of the way we are going to do what's best for the team. If we get a chance to drop back and pick up additional picks to help the team, we're going to entertain that."

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