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Budda Baker Earns Contract Upgrade 

Safety had been seeking raise since the offseason

Safety Budda Baker smiles during the Cardinals' opening camp practice on Wednesday.
Safety Budda Baker smiles during the Cardinals' opening camp practice on Wednesday.

Budda Baker was practicing Wednesday when the Cardinals opened camp, and coach Jonathan Gannon said the Pro Bowl safety had a smile on his face.

Thursday morning might have revealed a reason why.

NFL Network reported that the Cardinals had upgraded Baker's contract, which Baker had made clear in the offseason was something he wanted. He had been scheduled to make $13.1 million this season in salary; he now will get another $300,000 as a signing bonus and the ability to make another $2.1M in "incentives and bonuses." What that exactly means is unknown for now.

"He plays the game, in my opinion, how the game should be played," Gannon said.

Baker also reportedly gets a raise on his scheduled 2024 salary of $14.2 million.

"First and foremost, when you turn on the tape, you want to see who stands out," Gannon said. "I think (assistant head coach) Jeff Rodgers said it best in his special teams meeting, when you are looking for guys when you turn on the tape it's 'Who the (blank) is that guy?' Obviously everyone knows who No. 3 is."

Baker had asked for a trade or a contract extension early in the offseason, and had skipped voluntary work. He did show up to mandatory minicamp, albeit did not practice, and reported to training camp on time -- as he had said he would in May. Now that storyline is in the rear view.

"What storyline?" Gannon deadpanned. "I'm glad that Budda is out here and he's going to help us win games."

Prior to the news, the Cardinals had about $26 million in salary cap space, according to Any unused cap space in a season can roll over to the following season.

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