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Cardinals sign Budda Baker

The Arizona Cardinals announced Thursday they've agreed to terms with rookie Budda Baker on a four-year contract.

Even though Budda Baker isn't practicing with the Cardinals right now, when Baker is able to step on the field in Arizona, he'll do so with the security of playing under contract.

On Thursday, the Cardinals announced they have agreed to terms on a four-year deal with Baker, who was selected with the 36th overall pick in this year's draft. Arizona executed a draft-day trade to move up nine slots to select Baker, and in the process, surrendered a fourth round selection, a seventh round pick, and a 2018 fourth round draft choice.

Baker is the only Cardinals' draft pick who isn't participating in the team's rookie minicamps and offseason training activities, and that's because the University of Washington is on the quarter system which means Baker will be in school until the middle of June.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Baker was a First Team All-American selection in 2016 for the Huskies, and was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, given to the nation's top defensive player, and the Jim Thorpe award, given to the nation's top defensive back.

Over three seasons with the Huskies, Baker recorded 200 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions, four sacks, 24 passes defended and three forced fumbles. 

Baker is the sixth Cardinals' draft choice to agree to terms on his rookie contract with the team, leaving first round selection Haason Reddick as the lone unsigned player Arizona drafted in 2017. 

Immediately following this year's draft, Cardinals' general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians praised Baker's positional flexibility and the versatility he brings to the team's defense, and Keim went as far as comparing him athletically to Cardinals' safety Tyrann Mathieu.

The Cardinals lost both starting safeties, D.J. Swearinger and Tony Jefferson, to free agency this offseason, so Baker is expected to compete for a role in the secondary with returners Mathieu and Tyvon Branch, as well as free agent addition Antoine Bethea. Baker has the ability to play both safety positions, and is also expected to receive opportunities as a nickel cornerback once he arrives in Arizona. 


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