A New York Giants reporter breaks down the reasons why they let Deandre Baker leave so easily.
In the spring of 2019, the New York Giants like cornerback Deandre Baker enough to trade up seven spots—from early in the second round to the late first at No. 30 overall, which cost them extra 4th and 5th round picks—in order to select him. In doing so, he was the first corner taken in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Eighteen months later, the Giants decided to spurn his wishes to rejoin the team even after the assumed reasons for his release had been disproven. For a team to so easily walk away from a first-round investment is either a sign of a franchise in disarray or a strong organizational culture willing to move on with no concern for previous investments.
According to Ed Valentine, editor of Big Blue View, the Giants have turned the chapter because Baker was not worth the effort—largely because he wasn’t giving any. As the Chiefs hope their newest signing takes well to Andy Reid’s coaching style and Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive scheme, they also must hope he’s learned some lessons from his earliest days in the pros with the Giants.
Deandre Baker came out and said he wanted to return to New York. Why would the Giants be willing to let him walk so easily when he was exonerated?
The Giants have a new head coach. Joe Judge wasn’t there when the Giants drafted him. Judge talks all the time about “team-first.” His one-game benching of Golden Tate and Wednesday’s firing of OL coach Marc Colombo tells you those are not just words to him.
Baker may have been exonerated, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good guy. There were issues last season with his worth ethic and, at times, a lack of hustle on the field.
In short, exonerated or not he was not the kind of player Joe Judge wanted to build his program with. i think after dealing with him for a year and then whatever happened this offseason the Giants seriously questioned his commitment to being a good NFL player.
Baker started 15 games during his rookie season. What were his successes?
Baker had a really, really awful start to the season. He got better later in the year when the Giants allowed him to do the one thing that he can clearly do — stay on the right side of the defense and play press man.
What should the Chiefs never ask him to do?
Would it be mean if I said “anything complicated?” Baker very clearly prefers to stay on the right side. He is also very clearly better in man coverage. He admitted last season somewhere around this time of the year that he still didn’t know the defensive playbook — which tells you that if the Chiefs are going to get anything out of him they will need to keep it simple. Don’t be asking him to play complicated zone coverages where he has to pass guys off and make reads and all that. Put him in situations where he can just man up and play.
Were there any coaching issues at work here?
That’s a good question. James Bettcher wasn’t a very good defensive coordinator. I thought he spent way too much of the season asking Baker, and other Giants defenders, to do things they weren’t good at. He was very much a “this is my system and we’ll play it no matter who we have because it’s what I know” kind of coach.