New York Giants: DeAndre Baker’s legal issues will force management’s hand in 2021

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

When New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, most knew the probability of him returning to the NFL was slim. Head coach Joe Judge was asked about his legal issue several weeks ago during his first press conference, stating that he would let the front office deal with him.

Judge hasn’t had an easy time acclimating to the head coaching position for the Giants, being dealt blow after blow with COVID-19 and several criminal charges being pressed against his players. Luckily, he does have plenty of bright faces in the building, including Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Xavier McKinney, and more. When it comes to Baker, though, the likelihood of him playing with the Giants again is dwindling. Ultimately, the team will need to find a supplement for him moving forward.

The Giants were close to signing Ross Cockrell over the weekend, who last played with the team in 2017. He’s a solid starting corner and would have upgraded the position, but negotiations fell through in the final moments. The Giants elected to sign undrafted free agent Prince Smith out of New Hampshire instead. While it will be difficult for him to earn a starting spot on defense, he will be a development player with high upside.

Smith is extremely committed and is a fighter. His willingness to stop the run and physical approach to the corner position could make him valuable in the future. However, the Giants are relying on Julian Love, Darnay Holmes, Chris Williamson, and Corey Ballantine to make the jump to CB2. I can’t imagine any of these options play at a premium level, but holding their own is all we can hope for in 2020.

Baker is setting the New York Giants’ defense back:

Baker’s mistakes will force the Giants to look elsewhere in 2021 for a supplement. The Draft Networks 2021 mock draft has the Giants selecting quarterback Caleb Farley in the first round. The Virginia Tech corner is impressive, despite not having much experience at the position. While he is raw for a top 10 pick, the Giants are being forced into allocating draft capital toward the position.

Alternatively, they could look to free agency next off-season to find another corner. Current Cincinnati Bengals corner Mackensie Alexander fits the bill well at 27 years old. In 2019, he played in 13 games, allowing a 65.5% completion rate with two scores. He didn’t have his best campaign, but his youth and likely affordability would make him a decent option for the Giants if they are willing to splash the cash. There are plenty of options to look for free agency, but not breaking the bank would be a bonus.

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