The Miami Dolphins signed linebacker Jerome Baker to a three-year, $39 million extension on Sunday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The 24-year-old Ohio State product is entering the final year of his rookie contract and was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after earning $2.43 million this season. His extension carries $28.4 million guaranteed—more than seven times the amount he earned on his first contract.
Baker is coming off his best season yet, playing all 16 contests for the third straight year with 112 combined tackles and a career-high seven sacks with two forced fumbled and three pass deflections.
Miami wasted no time in rewarding him despite its defense ranking 20th overall last year (367.9 yards allowed per game). Yet with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wideouts Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker leading the offense, the rebuilding Dolphins are zeroing in on their core players for the foreseeable future.
Baker joins the three as Miami stars under contract through at least 2025 along with Byron Jones, Xavien Howard and Isaiah Wilson.
With the New England Patriots continuing to retool their roster in hopes of reviving their dynasty—and the Buffalo Bills the reigning AFC East champions—the Dolphins have arguably their best opportunity in the last 20 years to take control of the division.
As the club seeks its first playoff appearance since 2016 following a 10-6 campaign last year, Baker has earned the right to join the Dolphins' core with the contract to match.