The Miami Dolphins signed linebacker Jerome Baker to a three-year contract extension on Sunday, inking their 2018 third-round pick to a deal through the 2024 season. The move comes just a day after the media asked Baker about his contract situation and if it was an issue that he had an unsettled contract situation.
“I love this team,” Baker said. “I love being out there. I just love being on the team; and just being out here, getting back to football, it ultimately helps me in the long run. The contract stuff is the contract stuff. I really don’t care for it right now. I honestly just missed being out there with all the guys, especially all the personalities we have, the new guys. And ultimately just learning and getting better. I love to play football. That’s honestly why I’m out here. That’s what I love to do and I just want our team to get better.”
When asked if he could see himself as a long-term member of the Dolphins, Baker was pretty straight forward, replying, “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. Yeah, I definitely see myself playing here for a long time.”
Baker was asked if the Dolphins had talked to him about a new deal. He laughed and answered, “I guess. I mean, we haven’t really talked about anything. I’m just going into this year and…“
The trailed off and ended up changing into a three-year, $39 million deal, with $28.4 million guaranteed a day later.
Yesterday, after signing his contract, Baker posted a video on Twitter to the fans:
He also made sure to pull up his family on a video call to join him in the signing:
Which brings us to today. Now set to play for the Dolphins for seven seasons, is Baker set to be the next great Dolphins linebacker?
Taking out players like Jason Taylor, Cameron Wake, and Joey Porter, who were edge rushers used as outside linebackers at times, the Dolphins still have a history of great linebackers. Baker is poised to become the next in line.
Miami has not had a stud at linebacker since Zach Thomas left the team in 2007. Raekwon McMillan (2018-2019) and Kiko Alonso (2016-2018) attempted a climb to that mantle, but they came up short. Koa Misi (2010-2016), Channing Crowder (2005-2010), and Karlos Dansby (2010-2012) were solid players for the Dolphins, but they came up a little short of the “great” mark.
Baker could reach a mark that features:
Zach Thomas (1996-2007) (Should be HOF)
Bryan Cox (1991-1995)
John Offerdahl (1986-1993)
Bob Brudzinski (1981-1989)
Kim Bokamper (1977-1985)
A.J. Duhe (1977-1984)
Larry Gordon (1976-1982)
Bob Mathewson (1971-1979)
Mike Kolen (1970-1977)
Nick Buoniconti (1969-1974, 1976) (HOF)
In three seasons, Baker has 317 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions with a touchdown, and four forced fumbles. He is not on Thomas’ level (419 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 7 interceptions with three touchdowns, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and a First-Team All-Pro selection in his first three seasons), but he is definitely putting up numbers that could get him into the conversation as a Dolphins great at linebacker.
Do you think Baker is the next great Dolphins linebacker? Will he establish himself as a Dolphins legend as he plays through this contract extension?