The New York Giants waived DeAndre Baker on Tuesday, severing ties with the troubled cornerback, a first-round pick last year.
Baker is currently on the commissioner's exempt list as he faces four counts of robbery with a firearm in Florida. His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2021. If convicted, Baker faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in state prison.
The Giants told Baker to stay away from their virtual offseason earlier this year while he attended to his legal problems, and then he was placed on the exempt list before training camp. They had seemingly moved on from the young cornerback after the May 13 incident.
"Obviously, it's something that's embarrassing to the organization," Giants co-owner John Mara said last week.
The Giants traded up to get Baker in last year's draft. General manager Dave Gettleman said last week that there was nothing in Baker's background that would have suggested these legal troubles would happen.
Gettleman considered the whole situation "disappointing."
But the Giants traded up for Baker despite at least two teams telling ESPN last spring that there were red flags about him. He then had a rocky rookie year: Two players described Baker as a "handful" last season, and he was benched late in the year after then-coach Pat Shurmur called him out in front of the entire team for a lack of effort.
The Giants still didn't expect it to come to this.
"The DeAndre Baker thing was just something we did not see coming," Mara said. "I read some stories saying there were red flags about him, but not in the sense that you would be concerned about criminal conduct at all. Obviously, it's something that's embarrassing to the organization. It's just something that we're going to have to deal with. It happens from time to time. Fortunately, 99.9% of our players are good citizens. This was one that we just didn't see coming and it's something that we're going to have to deal with."
Baker, 23, is training in Florida as he awaits trial. The timing of the move is hardly surprising. Gettleman and Mara hinted earlier this week that Baker's release was on the horizon, in part because Week 1 of the NFL season has arrived.
Baker would have been required to be paid beginning next week had the Giants not released him before Week 1.
According to the original arrest warrant, Baker and fellow NFL player Quinton Dunbar were accused of stealing money and watches with force while armed with semi-automatic firearms. It stated that Baker intentionally threatened victims with a firearm.
According to the arrest warrant, multiple witnesses said at one point during the incident that Baker ordered another suspect, who was wearing a red mask, to shoot an individual who was just entering the party.
Broward prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Dunbar because of insufficient evidence. Dunbar is on the Seattle Seahawks' active roster. Baker finished his rookie season with 55 tackles and no interceptions, and he allowed seven touchdowns as the nearest defender, fourth most in the NFL, according to Next Gen Stats data. He was among the leading candidates to start opposite free-agent acquisition James Bradberry for the Giants this season.
Instead, his Giants career ends after 16 games and one season.