There are times when players have to be coy about things going on around them. In the case of linebacker Jerome Baker, it was just two days before that he was saying he and the Miami Dolphins hadn’t really discussed details regarding a contract extension.
“I guess.” He laughed when asked about the subject. “I mean, we haven’t really talked about anything. I’m just going into this year and…”
He quickly trailed off and was soon asked another question, this time regarding whether he could see himself playing in Miami for a long time. This time, his answer was much more enthusiastic.
“Oh, yeah. I want to play here for the rest of my career. I love it here, I love the fans, I love the organization, I love everybody here.” He said. “Yeah, I definitely see myself playing here for a long time. Do you see the hat? Do you see the hat?”
Merely two days later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter took to Twitter, announcing that Jerome Baker had signed a 3-year, $39 million dollar contract extension that will keep him in Miami through 2024. So much for having no discussions.
Linebacker Jerome Baker and the Miami Dolphins have agreed on a three-year contract extension worth $39 million, including $28.4 million guaranteed, his agent @DrewJRosenhaus tells ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 13, 2021
In all fairness, when the two sides want to make a deal, it doesn’t take long to hammer out the details. Baker clearly loves the Miami Dolphins, and the Miami Dolphins love having him on defense. Since being drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, the 24-year old Jerome Baker has proven to be an effective linebacker in every facet of the game. As a pass rusher, Baker has great speed and can get around the edge in a hurry, or burst through gaps in the middle of the line. In 2020, he recorded a career-high seven sacks.
Jerome Baker sacked Patrick Mahomes for a 30-yard loss 🤯
The Chiefs were faced with 4th and 42.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 13, 2020
He has also shown to be effective in coverage, and is very durable. He’s never missed a game yet, playing in all 48 games throughout his three-year career, starting in 37 of them. In that time, he’s racked up a total of 317 tackles, 11.5 sacks, ten pass deflections and two interceptions. That number is only projected to go up as head coach Brian Flores finds new ways to utilize his unique versatility.
His personality on and off the field has helped him out too. Baker recognizes and embraces this fact.
“For me, ever since I was young, it’s always been the same.” He said on Friday. “I lead by example and I kind of just do what the team needs me to do. If you need me to be the guy that yells today, I’ll be that guy. If you just need me to be that guy to just lead by example, I’ll be that guy. But ultimately, I think I’m just a lead-by-example guy. I just try to do the right things, I try to do what’s best for the team and that’s always been my approach. I don’t see it changing any time soon and I think that’s what’s gotten me here thus far.”
With Jerome Baker now signed for the foreseeable future, the Miami Dolphins can focus on signing their remaining draft class and extending other players, such as Mike Gesicki.
Training camp is just around the corner. Chris Grier deserves credit for extending a cornerstone and fan favorite before his contract expires. Jerome Baker gives a lot to the team, and that won’t change anytime soon. He’s everything the team professes to want. He works hard. He’s young. Fast enough to keep up with running backs. Smart enough to make calls on defense. And most importantly, he’s a team-first kind of player. Re-signing Baker is a no-brainer.
Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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