It appears that DeAndre Baker’s time with the Giants, and maybe even his NFL career, is about to come to an end.
Baker, who is awaiting trial in Florida on four felony counts of armed robbery, is expecting to be released by the Giants this week, according to someone close to the 22-year-old cornerback. And Giants GM Dave Gettleman, in his first remarks to the media about Baker’s arrest, sounded like cutting the former first rounder was a decision that’s already been made.
“All I can say to that: In life, there’s timing that’s involved,” Gettleman said on Wednesday morning. “In life, there’s timing. That’s how I’ll respond to that.”
The timing, in this case, is obvious. Though Baker doesn’t count against the Giants’ roster while he’s on the Commissioner’s exempt list, the team will still have to pay his $973,442 salary. But NFL players don’t start receiving pay checks until the regular season, so Baker’s weekly checks of $57,261 don’t start coming until next week.
And really, there’s no reason for the Giants to keep paying him when they know he won’t be available at all in 2020, at the very least. His next court date isn’t until Jan. 20, and given the delays in the Florida court system due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a source familiar with the case said it might not happen until months after that.
Baker could face life in prison if he’s convicted of those charges, so obviously he has more important things to worry about at the moment. But there’s no reason for the Giants to wait around to find out if Baker will eventually be cleared.
The only issue is the Giants invested a lot in Baker. They traded a second-, fourth- and fifth-round pick to get back into the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft at No. 30 to take him, and gave him a contract with $9 million guaranteed (though much of that will likely be voided). Getting rid of kicker Aldrick Rosas after he was arrested in a drunk driving incident this spring was an easy call, since kickers are often deemed expendable. But it’s just not the same for a first-round pick.
In this case, though, Gettleman seems to know the Giants made a mistake, even though they discovered nothing in their pre-draft investigation of Baker that would suggest he was capable of such a serious crime. Baker was arrested in May in Miramar, Fla., along with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar after witnesses said they robbed them at gunpoint.
The Broward County prosecutors eventually dropped their case against Dunbar, but they are pressing forward with their case against Baker.
“There was nothing in DeAndre’s background that would suggest these things would happen,” Gettleman said. “So it’s disappointing on a variety of levels. It’s disappointing and I guess what it teaches us all is nothing’s 100% except death and taxes. It’s disappointing. I’d be lying if I said anything less. It’s disappointing, but it’s life.”