Blockbuster Trade Pitch Nets Packers 5-Time Pro Bowl Safety

Budda Baker, Cardinals

Getty Safety Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before a game against the Seattle Seahawks in October 2022.

The Green Bay Packers are still in need of a safety to shore up their secondary, and one of the best in the game is pushing hard for a trade.

Budda Baker told the Arizona Cardinals in April to make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL or trade him, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. Neither of those events has yet transpired, though the latter is more likely considering the state of the Cardinals franchise as it undertakes a rebuild in the wake of new management.

Green Bay doesn’t have the salary cap space to make Baker the game’s wealthiest safety by offering him more than the $19.13 million annual number Derwin James is pulling down with the Los Angeles Chargers. But the Packers do have nearly $16.6 million in cash to throw around, which is just about enough to absorb Baker’s $16.9 million cap hit in 2023.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report pitched a trade proposal on Wednesday, May 31, that would land Baker in Green Bay for the final two years of his contract, and potentially beyond.

Packers Will Field ‘Elite’ Secondary With Addition of Budda Baker

Budda Baker, Cardinals

GettySafety Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals gestures to the sideline during warmups prior to a game against the Los Angeles Rams in November 2022.

Baker, who will play his seventh NFL season in 2023, is a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro. He has racked up 650 tackles during his career, including 32 tackles for loss. Baker has also tallied 34 pass breakups, 15 quarterback hits, 7.5 sacks, seven interceptions and six forced fumbles, per Pro Football Reference.

Ballentine suggested that the addition of Baker renders the Green Bay secondary “elite,” and high-level defense is something the Packers will need a great deal of if they hope to compete for the postseason with a first-year starter under center in quarterback Jordan Love.

Baker’s presence in the Packers secondary would give them an elite defensive backfield. Jaire Alexander is one of the best corners in the league when healthy, Rasul Douglas has been stellar since coming to Green Bay, and Eric Stokes flashed lockdown ability in his rookie season.

Baker, 27, would solidify the group by providing a playmaker who could align in multiple roles. The team [has not brought] back Adrian Amos this offseason and their free-agent additions — Jonathan Owens and Tarvarius Moore — don’t inspire confidence.

Former Packers Safety Adrian Amos Remains Free Agent

Adrian Amos, Packers

GettyQuarterback Zach Wilson of the New York Jets is pursued by safety Adrian Amos, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, during an NFL game in October 2022.

If Baker proves too pricey for Green Bay, the team does have another option in Amos. The Packers have yet to close the door on bringing him back into the fold, and the safety remains a free agent as the calendar flips to June.

Amos spent the last four seasons patrolling Green Bay’s secondary, playing out his $36 million contract in 2022. No particulars have been shared, but it is likely that the parting of ways between player and team came down to money.

Amos will play next season at the age of 30 and is looking for a lucrative multiyear contract. The Packers are reshuffling the deck and a big spend on a player who had a down year last season perhaps didn’t fit the blueprint as it was initially drawn up.

But now, months after free agency opened on March 15, Green Bay is still in need of a safety and Amos is still in need of employment. The facts on the ground have changed somewhat on both sides of the equation, which means the chance of a reunion has increased.

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