Alejandro Villanueva received the offer he’s been waiting for.
The Steelers on Thursday announced they have signed the offensive tackle and Army Ranger to an undisclosed four-year contract extension. According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth $24 million.
Villanueva, who wasn’t under contract because he didn’t sign his exclusive rights tender of $615,000, said he couldn’t be more proud to continue his career with a franchise that makes him feel valued both on and off the field.
“Sometimes when I walk into the locker room, Carmelo (Anthony) will start talking like a cowboy and be like, ‘You from Kaaansaas, home of James Naaaaismith,'” Baker said with a drawl. “It’s gotten more hysterical as I’ve gotten to know the guys.”
Baker’s trying to get to know the city as well despite not being near his usual wide-open spaces surrounded by wheat. He drives 45 minutes from White Plains to Madison Square Garden, trying not to get lost along the way.
“In Kansas, you base all directions on where the sun is — it’s something you just naturally do,” Baker said. “Here, sometimes you can’t see the sun because of the buildings and I’ll be like, ‘I don’t know where I am.'”
There have been other minor difficulties off the court for Baker as well.
“The first couple of times I pulled up to the MSG parking lot and told the security guard I was a player, the guy did a double time and seemed skeptical,” Baker said.
“But now when they see my Hyundai Sonata roll in, they know who it is and that business is coming.”
Despite being a walk-on at Wichita State and going undrafted in 2016, Baker has made multiple starts for the 22-29 Knicks this season. Hopefully the Knicks will let Baker stick around unlike Lin.