The Giants reviewed their scouting notes on DeAndre Baker and remain confident they did not miss any red flags.
Baker remains on the roster but away from the team as he is on the NFL’s Commissioner’s Exempt List while awaiting a January court date in Florida on four counts of armed robbery stemming from his arrest in May. It was the first arrest for the 23-year-old Baker, according to public records, but there were questions about his commitment to football before the 2019 NFL Draft.
And yet the Giants made a 3-for-1 trade of draft picks to move up and take Baker as the first cornerback off the board.
“Did we thoroughly investigate DeAndre’s background? Absolutely,” general manager Dave Gettleman said Wednesday in his first remarks since the incident. ‘There’s nothing there we didn’t know. But of course you always go back. It’s no different than a coach when something doesn’t go right. We did that. You always want to get better. You always debrief.”
Baker, who also is the target of a civil lawsuit, is alleged to have taken cash and watches from four men at gunpoint while at a party. His attorneys deny all accusations and say Baker is the victim of an extortion claim.
Given Gettleman’s premium emphasis on culture and chemistry, even at the risk of sacrificing talent, why not just cut Baker to send a message of a zero-tolerance policy against such allegations?
“That’s a fair question,” Gettleman said. “All I can say to that is in life there’s timing that’s involved.”
Gettleman said the Giants are “still in conversations” about whether to retain Baker until the legal process is resolved. He could be released at any time while on the Exempt List.
The Giants already cut bait with kicker Aldrick Rosas, who was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors from a hit-and-run accident in June.
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“There was nothing in Aldrick’s background, nothing in DeAndre’s background that would suggest these things would happen,” Gettleman said. “It’s disappointing on a variety of levels and it hurts us because they are two talented players. What it teaches us all is nothing is 100 percent except death and taxes.”
When told Rosas, who signed with the Giants before Gettleman became general manager, previously had a DUI arrest while in college in 2016, Gettleman said, “If there was something in Aldrick’s background from college, frankly, I didn’t know because I wasn’t here.”
For the already short-on-proven-talent Giants, the arrests cost the roster a Pro Bowler (Rosas) and a first-round draft pick (Baker).