The #Chiefs are expected to sign former #Giants CB DeAndre Baker to their practice squad in the coming days, source says. The 2019 first-round pick is headed there for a visit, as @NYPost_Schwartz noted. That’s the only planned visit and, barring a snag, he’ll be a Chief.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 18, 2020
Garafolo added that Baker’s stay on the practice squad is expected to be short-lived. Once he “gets up to speed,” he will be activated to the 53-man roster. We first learned earlier on Tuesday that Baker would be “heading to Kansas City” to meet with the Chiefs — according to a report from the New York Post.
Former Giants CB DeAndre Baker is in New Jersey today cleaning up his affairs.— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) November 17, 2020
He is headed to Kansas City tomorrow morning to meet with the Chiefs, according to a source.
Baker, 23, first entered the league in 2019 when the Giants selected him with the 30th overall pick in the NFL Draft. The 5-foot-11, 188-pound cornerback registered 61 tackles (48 solo) and eight passes defensed in 15 games for New York.
Our defensive film analyst, Craig Stout, chimed in with a breakdown of why the Chiefs might see him as a fit in Kansas City.
STOUT: Baker’s fit in Kansas City will be interesting, compared to some of the other players they’ve focused on developing during Spagnuolo’s tenure. Baker’s build and athletic profile most closely matches up to Rashad Fenton’s — who Spagnuolo plays primarily in the slot. Fenton is a good zone cornerback that Spagnuolo rotates deep and into space often.
Meanwhile, Baker is more of a press-man guy who isn’t great in zone. Playing that role hasn’t been his forte throughout his collegiate and professional career. Baker could definitely play on the outside — where he’s most comfortable — as a press-man cornerback with ball skills. However, that’s where the Chiefs have gone to longer, faster players such as L’Jarius Sneed and BoPete Keyes).
Defensive back and cornerbacks coach Sam Madison and Spagnuolo have both gushed about needing that. Baker would break against that, and he hasn’t been particularly successful there. In his rookie season in 2019, Baker allowed 54 completions on 88 targets (61.4%) for 850 yards and six touchdowns. By comparison, Charvarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland allowed a combined 72 catches on 151 targets (47.6%) for 1,118 yards and six touchdowns that same year.
Kansas City’s locker room certainly has the players to contain any character or work ethic concerns, so the risk is minimal — especially for the amount of money Baker will likely cost. If the Chiefs are looking for a stash-and-save cornerback candidate for the 2021 roster, they might be able to maximize his potential and catch a good, cheap player to help round out their defensive back room.
As Craig mentioned, there may be character concerns to work through with the former first-rounder, as the Giants waived him back in early September as Baker went through significant legal troubles. At the time, Baker cleared waivers and was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Baker was being prosecuted on four counts of robbery with a firearm that stemmed from an incident that occurred in May. However, on Tuesday, the Broward State Attorney’s Office dropped all charges against Baker when the attorney for the alleged victims was charged with extortion.
Spoke with Bradford Cohen, lawyer for ex-#Giants CB Deandre Baker: "I’ve been saying this from Day 1, that this was an extortion scheme and that Deandre was the victim. This event did not play out as they insinuated. And the case was dismissed."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2020
From NFL on Deandre Baker: “We have been monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. Baker remains subject to discipline based on results of that investigation."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2020
The Giants showed little interest in reuniting with Baker when asked on Tuesday, but the Chiefs are looking to be the team that will grant him his next opportunity in the NFL.