Former Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker, a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is headed to Kansas City, where he’ll join the reigning Super Bowl champs as a member of the Chiefs’ practice squad. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network was first on the story. Baker’s arrival in KC comes less than two days after multiple charges of armed robbery and assault stemming from a May arrest in suburban Miami (an incident that facilitated his release from the Giants) were dropped.
Baker’s alleged victims claimed the University of Georgia alum, along with fellow Miami native Quinton Dunbar of the Seattle Seahawks, robbed them at gunpoint during a game of dice. Prosecutors ultimately declined to press charges against Dunbar but didn’t offer the same courtesy to Baker, who faced 10 years to life in prison if convicted. As a result, Baker landed on the commissioner’s exempt list and was subsequently waived by the Giants, who had selected the 5’11” defensive back 30th overall in last year’s draft.
However, the 23-year-old’s fate changed earlier this week when a lawyer representing three of the alleged victims was arrested for attempting to extort nearly $800,000 from Baker ($266,000 for each victim), prompting the Broward State Attorney’s Office to dismiss the case. Despite no longer facing any legal ramifications, coach Joe Judge was adamant the Giants would not pursue a reunion with Baker. Apparently, the Chiefs felt differently, offering Baker a chance to redeem himself on the team’s practice squad. KC’s secondary has been shorthanded of late with L’Jarius Sneed and Charvarius Ward in and out of the lineup due to injuries. Starter Bashaud Breeland was also shelved for a time, serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, though he has since been reinstated.
In recent years, Kansas City has emerged as a preferred destination for players with character red flags including Le’Veon Bell and Tyreek Hill, both of whom have weathered their share of off-field controversies. Baker struggled in his debut season for New York, contributing 61 tackles with no interceptions in his 16 appearances (15 starts) while also receiving poor coverage marks from ProFootballFocus. Even though Broward County is no longer pursuing criminal charges against him, the former All-American could still be subject to league discipline depending on what the NFL uncovers in its ongoing investigation.