Linebacker Jerome Baker and the Miami Dolphins have reached an agreement on an extension. He will now be the team’s go-to pass rusher for three more years, next to Benardrick McKinney. It wasn’t too long ago that Baker told reporters he hadn’t really been approached about an extension. The contract worth 39 million dollars over those three years will make him among the top ten highest-paid inside linebackers in the NFL. He receives about an 11 million dollar raise on what was originally going to be a 2.433 million dollar contract year for him.
The 24-year-old former Ohio State University player was a third-round draft pick in 2018. That turned out to be an absolute steal thus far. He has not missed a single game so far in his career and is achieving 101 tackles per year. He proved to be able to get around the edge and inside more often than his first two years, recording seven sacks this past 2020 season.
Surprisingly enough, his PFF grade is only 55.2 for the past season. His rating in 2019 was a mediocre 46.7, way down from his rookie season rating of 70.7.
This of course does not reflect the Dolphins’ feelings towards him. Head coach Brian Flores said just days ago that “Jerome has gotten better in really all areas. I think he’s tough, he’s smart, he’s competitive, he loves to play, he’s a team first.”.
This is evident in this extension that the Dolphins feel the best is yet to come, but the consistency and hard work deserves this pay as well. It could prove to be a bargain again. If Baker shores up his rush defense and continues to improve on pass defense, he could be well on his way to being a household name. If he cuts back on the missed tackles, he will absolutely prove this deal well worth it.
Locking up a healthy budding and young defensive stud is officially off the board for the playoff-hopeful Dolphins as they seek to continue to build on the more recent resurgent team.