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Cardinals Continue To Have Conversations With Budda Baker

Ossenfort keeping details private after safety requested trade

Safety Budda Baker has made five Pro Bowls in six NFL seasons.
Safety Budda Baker has made five Pro Bowls in six NFL seasons.

At his introductory press conference, Monti Ossenfort told a story about interviewing Budda Baker for the Patriots before Baker was taken in the 2017 draft, feeling like he was ready to run through a brick wall for Baker once they were done.

"Budda Baker represents everything that we want this organization to be," Ossenfort said then.

That, the Cardinals general manager said on Friday, has not wavered, despite the five-time Pro Bowl safety going public last week with a desire to be traded.

"We have had a lot of conversations with Budda and his representation, a lot of productive conversations," Ossenfort said. "Those continue to happen.

"I'd say the conversations that I've had with Budda, I want those to remain between Budda and I. Those are private, and I'm not going to get into a situation when I am handling those in a public forum. I think I've been clear how I feel about Budda as a person and as a player, and nothing about that has changed."

Reportedly, Baker – who has two years left on his contract with $13 million and $14 million in salary, although nothing guaranteed – is looking for a contractual upgrade.

Ossenfort answered a question about wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins similarly, said he has had "a lot of interaction with Hop" and good discussions that will remain private. Hopkins also has two years left of non-guaranteed money in his deal and is seeking a trade.

"I like to hear all our players how they are feeling and what they are going through because each one of them are different," coach Jonathan Gannon said. "I know what's in (Budda's) heart and I know he is a phenomenal person and a phenomenal player. We have had great conversations so far and a good relationship and looking forward to keeping that moving forward."

The Cardinals have their first on-field work of the offseason beginning Tuesday with a voluntary minicamp that runs through Thursday.

Veteran tackle D.J. Humphries, the longest-tenured Cardinal, says he's in touch with both Baker and Hopkins, although the conversations are never about trades or contracts and "that's probably a relief to those guys for sure," Humphries said.

"I feel like I watched Budda grow up. I watched him tackle that dummy and flip over on his back when he was a rookie," Humphries added. "It feels like that was yesterday. That's like your little brother and you watch him become the man. (A trade request) is definitely tough to hear, but I'm sure it'll work itself out. It's business."

But Humphries, speaking at Thursday night's uniform unveiling, is willing to share that part of the job with Baker and Hopkins.

"They've got to see the new uniforms," Humphries said with a smile. "Hopefully the new uniforms will sell them a little bit."

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