DeAndre Baker’s recent off-the-field issues will test the culture that Joe Judge is trying to instill in the New York Giants.
New York Giants head coach Joe Judge‘s tenure is off to a challenging start. First, he along with the rest of us are having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and now he faces the prospect of moving forward without one of his defensive starters—DeAndre Baker.
On Thursday night, an arrest warrant by the Miramar Police was issued for Baker on four counts of armed robbery with a firearm, and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
The alleged incident took place late Wednesday night at a party, where Baker and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar were accused of stealing money and watches at a cookout.
(1/2) A warrant to arrest has been issued for Deandre Baker, of the @Giants (four counts of Armed Robbery with a Firearm and four counts of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm.) Quinton Dunbar of the @Seahawks also has a warrant to arrest for four counts of Armed Robbery with a pic.twitter.com/vDDWMjYDaO
— Miramar Police (@MiramarPD) May 14, 2020
The NFL released a statement that they’re aware of the incident and do not wish to further comment at this time. Neither Judge, general manager Dave Gettleman, or Giants ownership have commented about the incident at this time.
There will be much speculation surrounding Baker’s future. Unless the reports turn out to be false, it seems his days as a Giant are nearing an end.
If Baker isn’t suspended by the league, the Giants could suspend or cut Baker. After all, it was John Mara and Steve Tisch who suspended and then released Plaxico Burress following his November 2008 gun case where he accidentally shot himself in a New York City nightclub.
Parting ways with Baker would be a necessity based on the culture Judge wants to instill with the Giants. Judge has spoken about wanting to build a team of tough and high-character players that will be held accountable for their actions. Keeping Baker would go against everything the Judge is trying to establish with the Giants. It would be a bad look for a first-year head coach to contradict the message he put out shortly after being named head coach.
True, it would be a huge hit financially for the Giants as it would cost them $7.6 million in dead cap space. But if setting a new culture is a top priority, then it’s a move that needs to be made.
No one in the Giants organization could have foreseen Baker being involved in this alleged incident. But now it’s time to prepare the team to move on without Baker.
The first step in doing this is to begin the process of seeing who will start at cornerback opposite of James Bradberry. Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine, and rookie Darnay Holmes will be some of the players on the current roster who will compete for that spot.
But another option is for the Giants is to sign a corner that’s still on the free-agent market such as Logan Ryan, who has ties to Judge from their time together with the Patriots from 2013 to 2016. Other options would be Ross Cockrell who played for the Giants in 2017, Dre Kirkpatrick, or Darqueze Dennard.
The Giants were going to rely heavily on Baker this year under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Now they’ll have to find someone else to be one of their starting corners.