Report: New York Giants’ DeAndre Baker officially charged with armed robbery

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

New York Giants’ cornerback DeAndre Baker has been dealing with legal issues the past few months, and with reports indicating he could be exonerated of charges regarding an armed robbery case, the narrative has changed drastically. On Friday afternoon, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reported that Baker was charged with four counts of robbery with a firearm, per Broward State Attorney Mike Satz.

Leonard also stated that if he were convicted, the robbery with a firearm would mandate a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

It is crazy to think just several months ago Baker was slotted to be the Giants’ No. 2 corner on the roster after coming off a tough 2019 campaign. Clearly, Baker had different plans for his career, putting himself in a bad situation that could cost him his future.

The New York Giants had high hopes for Baker:

At just 22 years old, Baker entered the NFL with red flags concerning his character, but general manager Dave Gettleman saw the upside of his talent and took a chance in the first round. After just one season of lackluster play, Baker was expected to take a major step forward in a Patrick Graham lead defense. Graham utilizes plenty of man coverage, which Baker excels in.

Last season, former defensive coordinate or James Bettcher utilized zone coverage more frequently, which put Baker in a tough spot. An expected elevation in 2020 was the reason for excitement, but now DeAndre is facing life in prison. With a friend being instructed to shoot a partygoer, Baker was that close to facing the death penalty in this situation.

 

BREAKING: Dwayne Johnson reportedly partners with investor group to buy the XFL

Dwayne Johnson

The future of the XFL is trending in the right direction, as Hollywood superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has reportedly teamed up with the investment firm RedBird Capital Partners to purchase the football league for $15 million, according to a news release issued Monday morning.

Vince McMahon’s football league was off to a solid start early in 2020, averaging nearly 2 million TV viewers per game and $20 million in gross revenues, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and shut down the league five weeks in. The XFL then had to let go of nearly its entire workforce on April 10 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 13. This isn’t the first time the XFL was forced to shut down, as the league’s initial launch suffered the same fate back in 2001. However, McMahon was determined to get this league going and invested $200 million in its revival back in 2018, and it probably would’ve lasted had the pandemic not come around.

This new deal has to be approved in bankruptcy court on Friday, but if all goes well, it could be finalized before the end of August. According to reports, The Rock and Dany Garcia, who is his business partner and ex-wife, and RedBird Capital Partners, led by Gerry Cardinale, are expected to be 50/50 partners in the deal.

This is a testament to how difficult it has been for alternative football leagues to survive, as the AAF (Alliance of American Football) league also didn’t make it through one season in 2019.

The XFL was supposed to hit the auction block on Monday, but The Rock and his partners were able to get a deal done before then. It is unclear when the new owners plan to relaunch the league, as the pandemic has made things difficult for sports leagues. So far, the NBA and NHL seem to be having the most success with their bubble format, so that seems to make the most sense for the XFL. Here is what The Rock had to say about the plans for his new purchase:

The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things — my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans. With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.

The Rock played Division I college football for the University of Miami for four years and then became a global pro wrestling legend in McMahon’s WWE. Since he retired from his wrestling career, he has become one of the biggest and most successful actors in Hollywood.

BREAKING: New York Jets release Brian Winters Saving Cap Space

New York Jets, Brian Winters

Brian Winters has been a mainstay of the New York Jets’ offensive line for the past 7 years. From a third round pick out of Kent State in 2013, to being one of the most efficient lineman the Jets have had in the last few years, Winters has grown while in Green and White. Now, it unfortunately looks like his time donning the green and white colors has come to an end.

Why did the New York Jets release Winters?

Recently, I wrote a piece highlighting how Winters’ veteran presence could make him integral to the offensive line next season, now the Jets will continue to move forward with the offensive line overhaul. After signing Greg Van Roten in the offseason to play guard, and drafting Cameron Clark, it became apparent Winters was not in the long term plans. My initial thought process was he’d be a transitional piece for this season to allow the line to gel quicker, but now the Jets will count on offensive line coach, Frank Pollack to get the unit together in time to play Buffalo week one.

As for Winters, he will likely find a home elsewhere. He’s only 29 and despite battling injuries, he’s been somewhat efficient. As a fan, despite the $7 million freed up with his release, my heart breaks for Winters. He’s given his blood, sweat and tears to this organization. He’s grown from a rookie to a father with this team and it’s sad to see him go. With that said, he’s also a competitor and with so much football left in him I don’t think he would want to sit behind a new line and be slowly phased out. This gives him a chance to compete for a role elsewhere and hopefully find a new home. So, in the end, it’s a win-win for both sides.

Now, the Jets just built themselves an intriguing position battle. The team must figure out if Greg Van Roten, the former panthers mainstay, can hold the starting job, or if the feisty rookie, Cameron Clark can steal it away. 

New York Yankees Gain Back Flamethrowing Closer After Negative COVID Tests

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

After contracting COVID-19 before the start of the season, Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to join the team. While the Yankees haven’t imploded in the bullpen they certainly missed their closer in the 9th inning of close games. The news was broken by ESPN’s Marly Rivera earlier today.

The Yankees have their bullpen replenished and with uncertainty regarding Tommy Kahnle, it’s good to have another lockdown arm back. This takes the pressure off of Zack Britton and allows for the Yankees to have him in his usual setup or middle relief roles. With more rest for your relievers, you can have security if a starter goes down or gets shelled early.

The bullpen shapes up to be Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton as the setup arms and Aroldis Chapman closing, though we don’t know if Aaron Boone plans to use him sparingly at first as he did with DJ LeMahieu or if he will just spring him into action.

It’s great to have Chapman back, and the Yankees look even better as they size up against their fierce rivals in the Boston Red Sox.

New York Knicks officially hire Tom Thibodeau as head coach

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks announced on Thursday morning that they’ve hired Tom Thibodeau to be the 31st head coach in franchise history.

Team president Leon Rose calls Thibodeau a “proven winner” who brings “leadership” to the table.

“Tom Thibodeau is a proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached,” said Leon Rose, president, New York Knicks. “He will bring leadership, accountability and a hard-working mentality to our organization. We are excited to bring him back to New York and look forward to collaborating with him and his staff toward a successful future.”

Thibodeau says he’s “grateful” for the opportunity to coach the Knicks.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to this historic franchise as head coach and work alongside a talented front office that I have great trust in and respect for,” said Thibodeau. “I know what New York is like when the Knicks are successful and there is nothing comparable. I look forward to being a part of what we are building here and can’t wait to get to work.”

Thibodeau was most recently the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2016-19. Prior to patrolling the sidelines in Minnesota, Thibodeau was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 2010-15, where he won Coach of the Year honors in 2011.

Thibodeau has 20 seasons of experience as an assistant coach under his belt split between the Knicks, Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics.

The Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale 22 games into the 2019-20 NBA regular season (4-18) and promoted assistant Mike Miller. As interim head coach, Miller went 17-27.

President Steve Mills was fired in February and replaced by Leon Rose, who has retained general manager Scott Perry while hiring Walt Perrin as assistant general manager, William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball advisor and Tom Thibodeau as head coach.

New York Giants OT Nate Solder Opts Out Of 2020 Season

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The New York Giants have had their first player officially opt out of the 2020 NFL season: offensive tackle Nate Solder.

Nate Solder announced today that he will be opting out of the 2020 season due to serious health concerns. Nate’s son, Hudson Solder, has been fighting an ongoing battle with cancer. Hudson is at high-risk if he were to contract the coronavirus. The Solder family has also welcomed a baby boy as a new addition to the family this spring. Nate Solder has eliminated certain risks by opting out of this year’s NFL season to protect his family’s health.

Nate Solder released this official statement on Twitter below:

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to numerous opt-outs across the NFL. Nate Solder is the twenty-sixth NFL player to opt-out of the season, the first member of the New York Giants to do so. Training camp began yesterday for the Giants. Players underwent their first round of COVID-19 testing and will continue to be tested until they are cleared to practice.

With this news, the Giants have lost one of their two starting offensive tackles. This leaves the door wide open for rookie Andrew Thomas to start immediately at left tackle in 2020. Solder opting out also frees up $19.5 million on the Giants’ 2020 salary cap. But the money does roll into 2021 and likely extends Solder’s career with the Giants.

Nate Solder’s opt-out could also have a ripple effect across the Giants’ offensive line. This creates even more uncertainty over who might start at both right tackle and center. Nick Gates could see himself take a starting role this season and rookie Matt Peart might now have a shot at the right tackle position.

Nate Solder’s family is the top priority. He has made this careful decision to protect the health of himself and his loved ones and he deserves respect and admiration for doing so.

New York Giants And 4th Overall Pick Andrew Thomas Agree To Terms

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. The Giants and Thomas are in agreement on a four-year, fully guaranteed $32.345M contract with a $21.1M signing bonus, according to Ian Rapoport.

Andrew Thomas, the three-year starter out of Georgia, is the fourth top-five pick to get his deal done. Thomas will take a physical today then sign the contract.

The New York Giants desperately needed an upgrade at offensive tackle this offseason. Last season, the Giants’ starting offensive tackles allowed a combined 96 pressures. Nate Solder accounted for 56 of those pressures and also allowed 11 sacks on the season. Andrew Thomas is now in a contractual agreement to be the Giants’ left tackle of the future.

Andrew Thomas played 1,075 pass-block snaps in his collegiate career. On those snaps, Thomas allowed only 37 total pressures. He also has not allowed more than 2 pressures in a game since 2017 (his freshman season at right tackle).

The Giants report to training camp tomorrow. New York is working to get its entire rookie draft class under contract. Sixth-round pick Cam Brown signed his rookie contract earlier today. Seventh-round pick Tae Crowder has also signed. TJ Brunson, Matt Peart, and Darnay Holmes have also agreed to terms with the Giants. There are only a few rookies left for the Giants to sign, including second-round pick Xavier McKinney. Expect to see the Giants complete these deals with their rookies very soon.

New York Giants: DeAndre Baker Placed On Commissioner’s Exempt List

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker has officially been placed on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. This is big news for the Giants who are set to begin training camp tomorrow. DeAndre Baker was planning on reporting to training camp, but the NFL has now decided to take action. The Giants have also now made a decision; they are not granting DeAndre Baker permission to participate in training camp or other team activities. DeAndre will have to wait until his legal situation is ironed out before he can return to the Giants.

DeAndre Baker is accused of committing armed robbery and has eight felony charges looming overhead. The legal situation is unresolved, though, and prosecutors have not yet determined whether to proceed with the case. Because of this uncertainty, Commissioner Goodell has placed DeAndre Baker on the commissioner’s exempt list.

What Is The Commissioner’s Exempt List and How Does It Work?

Essentially, the commissioner’s exempt list places DeAndre Baker on paid leave. He will still be a member of the New York Giants but he will not be a participating member of the team:

“While on the commissioner’s exempt list, a player is paid as if he were on the active roster, yet he does not count against his team’s 53-man active roster limit. A player on the exempt list is not allowed to practice or attend games, but he is allowed to be present at the facility for meetings, to work out, and to receive treatment.” – via NBC Sports.

“The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances. The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic.” – NFL.com

DeAndre Baker will continue to be a New York Giant for as long as he is not found guilty. The Giants had not cut ties with Baker yet because there is a chance that he is found innocent and exonerated of these charges. Baker was a first-round pick just two years ago and is viewed as a key building block for the Giants’ defense. The hope is for DeAndre to be found innocent and continue his career with the Giants. But for as long as this case is unsettled, Baker will remain on the commissioner’s exempt list.

New York Yankees V Philadelphia Phillies: Monday game postponed after COVID-19 outbreak

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

It didn’t take long for the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball to cancel Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. After news broke that the Miami Marlins had an outbreak of COVID-19 within their ranks, the Phillies, who just played them over the weekend, is the primary risk.

Despite Philadelphia fumigating their visiting locker room, where the Miami Marlins were being hosted, the Yankees likely don’t feel comfortable staying in that space. Health is the number one priority for players, and with the Phillies administering tests, we will have to wait for the results.

This test will hopefully give us some information on how the league will proceed with further issues like this. The tests administered to the Phillies will likely not be known until Monday evening, but other games will likely be played.

Some have used the word “postponement instead” of cancellation, as a game could be played later at night theoretically if the test returned negative. Otherwise, the Yankees will have to move the game to Tuesday and the Phillies will have to utilize a team compose a taxi squad players. Of course, this was a risk going into the regular season, but there’s not much they can do but utilize reserve options in the meantime.

The solution would be to host doubleheaders at the end of the season to make up for lost games. Alternatively, the Yankees will have to face off against second-tier options. Of course, this will give them a competitive advantage, so pushing the games back would be the fairest scenario.

New York Yankees series against Philadelphia Phillies could be cancelled after latest news

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Whenever the word “quarantine” comes up, it usually doesn’t mean anything good is happening. The New York Yankees are scheduled to face off against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday evening in their next series of the 2020 regular season. However, that is now in jeopardy after the Phillies faced off against a coronavirus ridden Miami Marlins squad.

The Marlins tested their team after Sunday’s game against the Phillies, as eight players and two coaches tested positive. About 40% of their active players are now positive with COVID-19, and 11 players will now have to go into quarantine, according to Jon Heyman of MLB network.

How does this affect the New York Yankees?

Since the Phillies are coming off a series against Miami, they have to be extra careful that they did not contract the virus. They have already administered tests to the players and coaching staff, and the Yankees have been isolated in the visiting clubhouse. They have already fumigated the visiting clubhouse 50 times over.

With Miami’s series against the Baltimore Orioles already canceled, the Yankees are in serious jeopardy of missing several games due to the Philadelphia Phillies players coming in contact with the virus. Clearly, the Yankees want to be as careful as possible, which attests to their usage of masks during intrasquad play as a precaution.

This outbreak could have devastating effects on the regular season, which is already set to play 60 games in just 65 days. Realistically, the Marlins will have to call up players from their taxi squad or simply miss the next two weeks of games, pushing the playoffs back that same time frame.

If the Phillies, in fact, do test positive with the virus, the Yankees will next face off against the Boston Red Sox on July 31. Luckily, the condensed schedule would give the team four extra days to heal and continue practicing. They’re coming off a series win against Washington Nationals, which they took two of three games.