Carson Palmer believes Cardinals need Budda Baker

May 31, 2023, 9:05 AM

Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals shakes hands with fans after beating the Seattle Seahawks 2...

Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals shakes hands with fans after beating the Seattle Seahawks 23-13at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

It is not a stretch to say Budda Baker is one of the most important players on the Arizona Cardinals. It goes beyond his relentlessness in the defensive backfield.

Baker requested a trade from Arizona in April and has been an often-reference name alongside former wideout DeAndre Hopkins since the start of the new Monti Ossenfort-Jonathan Gannon regime.

Baker did not show up to Arizona’s voluntary organized team activities last week but earlier this week said he’ll be back among the organization “when it’s time to be there.”

Former Cardinals quarterback and teammate to Baker, Carson Palmer, knows that the safety is the engine of the defense. And beyond.

“When you are going through a rebuilding year, new staff and your quarterback is hurt and not ready to play, those guys are instrumental,” Palmer told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Tuesday.

“You need that leadership, those guys who have been captains and Pro Bowlers in the past. He is the star of that defense. When you’re going through all the turmoil that the organization has gone through thus far, you need guys like Budda Baker.”

Baker has been the team’s tackle leader in three of the last four seasons and totaled 98 in the one he wasn’t.

Although the team most likely will not contend for the Lombardi Trophy this season, Palmer thinks keeping Baker around is vital for the upcoming years of the team because of the intangibles he brings.

“Massively important. Not even from his play on the field, his work ethic, his drive, his leadership, the way he practices, the way he prepares,” Palmer said.

“He is an undersized guy that a lot of people didn’t give the shot to have this type of career. … He has all the heart you could ask for, really smart, really good at diagnosing plays and finding a way to make an impact on the game.”

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