The Green Bay Packers enter the Bye Week 2-3 after an incredibly frustrating loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football. As the team looks forward, they will be looking at various ways in which they can improve their roster. The fact of the matter, though, is that the Packers are rather fond of their young players, making moving one of them via trade unlikely.
That being said, there are several veterans whom the the Packers could look to trade ahead of the 2023 trade deadline. One of these players is edge rusher Preston Smith. In a recent article for Lombardi Avenue, writer Austin Krueger suggested that the Packers could trade the veteran edge rusher for a notable safety.
Proposed Green Bay Packers Trade Sends Preston Smith to the Arizona Cardinals for Safety Budda Baker
In his article, Krueger identifies safety and offensive line as the Packers’ biggest needs. He also identifies Smith as Green Bay’s most tradable veteran, thanks in large part to his team-friendly contract.
While he suggests various safeties and offensive linemen that could be acquired in exchange for Smith, he notes that Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker would be a “big swing:”
“While I wouldn’t expect it, the Packers could decide to swing big by packaging Preston with draft capital to bring in a player who will step in as a starter and be a long-term fix.”
Trade targets: S Jeremy Chinn, S Tre’von Moehrig, DB Jalen Mills, OG/C James Daniels, LT Jonah Williams
Swing big: S Budda Baker
Baker, a five-time Pro Bowl safety, has been coveted by Packers fans for quite some time now. But is he really an upgrade for the team in 2023 and would that trade make sense for Green Bay beyond this season?
How Does Budda Baker Compare to Rudy Ford and Darnell Savage?
To put it plainly, there is no comparison between Baker and the Packers’ starting safeties in 2023. This is because Baker has been on injured reserve since September 18, the second week of the season.
His injury? A hamstring.
Since Baker has been limited to less than a game, it would not be fair to compare him to Rudy Ford and Darnell Savage. However, for the those curious, here is Baker’s 2022 PFF grades compared to Savage’s and Ford’s 2023 PFF grades:
- Baker (2022): 73.7 overall defensive grade; 80.2 run defensive grade; 66.5 tackling grade; 59.0 pass rush grade; 69.1 coverage grade
- Savage (2023): 59.5 overall defensive grade; 73.8 run defensive grade; 63.1 tackling grade; 52.2 pass rush grade; 54.0 coverage grade
- Ford (2023): 73.7 overall defensive grade; 67.3 run defensive grade; 81.7 tackling grade; 58.0 pass rush grade; 74.0 coverage grade
Interestingly, Baker’s and Ford’s grades are very similar, though Baker is better at run defense and Ford is better at pass defense. That being said, Baker was a Pro Bowler last season. Ford is having a nice season.
Obviously, Baker would be an upgrade over Savage, but only if he was able to play at the same level he did last season. Can he come back for the rest of the season and play at a high level? Absolutely he can; however, there is the contract to think about.
Budda Baker Will Be a Free Agent at the End of the Season
Baker is in the final year of his four-year $59 million contract that he signed with the Cardinals back in 2020. This, of course, means that he is going to be nothing but a rental for whatever team trades for him.
On the one hand, that means the Cardinals’ asking price for him should not be that high. Green Bay likely will not need to make Smith available to make that trade happen.
On the other hand, Baker is going to be a hot commodity on the trade market for any playoff contenders that want to boost their safety room. Even if the Packers make Smith available, they may get out bid by a team offering early draft picks.
Offering Smith for Baker would, indeed, be a big swing; but it is not the kind of big swing a team in a transition year should make. Baker is not under contract after this season ends, meaning he has little-to-nothing to offer the Packers’ long-term plans. It is simply a trade Green Bay will not attempt to make.
The Green Bay Packers are in the spotlight again with trade rumors swirling around Preston Smith and 5-time Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker. As the Packers navigate their season, such potential moves could significantly impact their roster. Dive deeper into this intriguing development and stay updated with all the latest Green Bay Packers Rumors on our website.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Preston Smith plays for the Green Bay Packers as a linebacker. The Packers are an NFL team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Smith joined the Packers in 2019 after spending four seasons with the Washington Football Team. He is known for his pass-rushing skills and has been a key player on the Packers' defense.
Budda Baker is not playing due to a hamstring injury. He suffered the injury in Week 2 and was placed on injured reserve for the first time in his career. After a minimum four-week recovery period, his practice window was opened. However, he has yet to be activated, along with quarterback Kyler Murray who is also recovering from an ACL injury.
Budda Baker has been in the NFL since 2017. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2017 NFL Draft and has been an integral part of their defense ever since. With his speed, agility, and playmaking ability, Baker has quickly become one of the top safeties in the league.