The Kansas City Chiefs have rebuilt almost their entire secondary school this offseason, and a familiar face is no longer part of the team. Per Adam Teicher of ESPNthe club has fired cornerback Deandre Baker.
The Chiefs released CB DeAndre Baker, a former Giants first-round pick. He was down the depth chart after Chiefs Trent McDuffie, Josh Williams and Jaylen Watson drafted and traded for Lonnie Johnson.
Baker, who had previously signed with the Chiefs’ practice team in November 2020, was nearing two full years at Kansas City at the time of his release. The former 2019 New York Giants first-round pick came to town looking for a fresh start after troubles off the field that led to the end of his tenure in New York. He managed the feat of hitting the reset button in Kansas City, though he never quite managed to make his mark on the field. His Chiefs career began with a fractured left femur in the club’s last regular-season game of the 2020-21 season.
In 10 games with the Chiefs (two starts) over the course of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Baker recorded 21 tackles (one by loss) while recording two broken passes and a sack. He played 35% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2020, increasing that number to 39% last season. He also contributed to special teams, playing 20% and 25% of those snaps with the Chiefs over those two seasons, respectively. Last year Baker released a 60.0 composite Focus on professional football Class.
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Back in June of this year, Baker signed his tender for exclusive rights as a free agent (ERFA) with the Chiefs. That almost ensured he would be back for another run with the team, although that run fell well short of either the regular season or the playoffs. Still looking for his first career interception, Baker is now hitting the open market and also looking for a statement season that can get his earlier career arc back on track. Baker will only be 25 in September.
What does this mean for the Chiefs?
Just last week, Zack Eisen von Arrowhead report wrote about the insane competition in the Chiefs’ cornerback room. Describing Baker as a “long shot” to form the final 53-man roster, he said the following about the young defender:
Outside of Sneed, Deandre Baker is the only cornerback with experience in Spagnuolo’s system. Experience is usually positive in these positional battles, but it’s a disservice to Baker. Last season, the Chiefs opted to play consistently against Mike Hughes and other cornerbacks instead of putting Baker on the field. As a result, he’s really looking inside from the outside. Unless he impresses heavily in training camp and preseason, Baker will find it all but impossible to crack the roster.
The Chiefs have plenty of high-profile cornerbacks that are expected to fit this year’s depth chart. At the front, L’Jarius Sneed and first-round pick Trent McDuffie should slip into two of the first starting roles. However, McDuffie is being spurred on by Rashad Fenton, who is still on the list of physically unfit players but has played starting-level football for a number of years in a row. Fourth-round pick Joshua Williams is turning heads at training camp, and the Fayetteville State product has the combination of length and athleticism that poses a serious threat to gain game time in the freshman year.
Outside of Williams, the duo of Lonnie Johnson and Dicaprio Bootle are battling for roster spots. Rookies Jaylen Watson and Nazeeh Johnson can also be lumped in, although the latter was drafted as security and faces an uphill battle to avoid roster cuts. Baker and Chris Lammons were re-signed this offseason, although Baker’s fate has been decided and Lammons’ chances of making the team don’t look great at this point.