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Cardinals' safety Baker agrees to 4-year, $59 million deal

By DAVID BRANDT AP Sports Writer

Two-time Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker has agreed to terms on a $59 million, four-year contract extension with the Arizona Cardinals.

The team announced the deal on Tuesday. Baker’s agent David Mulugheta confirmed the terms and that $33.1 million is guaranteed, which makes him among the NFL’s highest-paid safeties.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Baker played in college at Washington and was drafted in the second round in 2017. The 24-year-old has quickly become a young cornerstone for the Cardinals’ defense and led all NFL defensive backs with 147 tackles last season, including 104 solo tackles.

Baker’s rookie contract was set to expire after this season, but now he’s under contract through 2024.

Arizona’s defense was among the NFL’s worst in 2019, but had two standout players in Baker and linebacker Chandler Jones. The Cardinals expect to be much better this fall after several key additions, including free agent linebackers Devon Kennard and De’Vondre Campbell, along with defensive lineman Jordan Phillips. They also used the No. 8 overall pick in April’s draft to add versatile linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

The soft-spoken Baker is popular in the Cardinals’ locker room and has forged a somewhat unlikely friendship with Jones, who is several years older and much more outgoing. Both of them are among the leaders on the defense, along with three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and linebacker Jordan Hicks.

Baker is the first player in franchise history to be selected to the Pro Bowl as a special teams player and a defensive player. He made 16 special teams tackles in 2017 and was the first Cardinals rookie since Peterson to be selected to the Pro Bowl.

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