Cardinals’ Ossenfort mum on futures of Budda Baker, DeAndre Hopkins
Apr 21, 2023, 2:15 PM
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
TEMPE — There was a noticeable uniform number missing from the Arizona Cardinals’ jersey unveiling on Thursday night.
The heart and soul of Cardinals football since going pro in 2017, safety Budda Baker and his infamous No. 3 were nowhere to be found at the team’s reveal of its new threads at The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix.
New uniforms are a big deal for the franchise and one of its cornerstone pieces wasn’t present.
The safety’s absence only adds to the chatter surrounding him and the team following Baker’s trade request that was unearthed last week.
The situation surrounding Baker is just another thing piled on the plate for new general manager Monti Ossenfort, who in less than a week is set to embark on his first NFL Draft in his new role.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations with Budda and his representation,” Ossenfort said Friday. “A lot of productive conversations and those continue to happen. I understand that Budda went public with his request last week.
“I would say the conversations I’ve had with Budda, I want those to remain between Budda and I. Those are personal, those are private. … I think I’ve been clear about how I feel about Budda as a person and a player and nothing about that has changed.”
#AZCardinals GM Monti Ossenfort said the team has remained in contact with @Buddabaker3 following the safety's trade request.
"We've had a lot of conversations with Budda and his representation. A lot of productive conversations and those will continue to happen." pic.twitter.com/1nn44zb5JT
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) April 21, 2023
And while Baker wasn’t taking in the new threads with his teammates, the safety and his current situation weren’t lost on the players in attendance on Thursday night.
For a guy like offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, who’s watched Baker come up the ranks, it’s been especially rough to witness how everything is unfolding.
But at the end of the day, it’s a business.
“No question (it’s tough to hear),” Humphries said Thursday. “I felt like I watched Budda grow up. … It’s definitely tough to hear because it’s one of those things where you watch someone grow up and that’s your little brother and they become the man. I’m watching it all happen right before my eyes and it’s definitely tough to hear but I’m sure it will work itself out.”
Baker isn’t the only Cardinal associated with the word “trade” this offseason, either. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ fate is still unknown despite rumors of multiple teams being interested in the WR’s talents.
And much like the safety’s current circumstances, Ossenfort isn’t diving in more than he needs to.
“I’ve had a lot of discussions with Hop. He’s been great,” the GM said. “Good discussions back and forth. … As it pertains to his situation, I’m going to keep those discussions between us as well, but Hop’s proven to be a good player in this league and is obviously a very talented player. I think productive conversations with Hop, just going to keep those between us.”
Much like Budda Baker, #AZCardinals GM Monti Ossenfort didn’t dive too far into the trade talk surrounding DeAndre Hopkins but did say he has had a lot of good interactions with the WR. pic.twitter.com/QQbK5FqNis
— Tyler Drake (@Tdrake4sports) April 21, 2023