The Cincinnati Bengals need cornerbacks in the worst way possible right now, and there’s an available former first-round pick at the position who can help.
Per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, the Bengals are one of several teams interested in signing cornerback DeAndre Baker.
Giants are not in on DeAndre Baker.— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) November 16, 2020
Teams interested: Chiefs, Bengals, 49ers and Jaguars. https://t.co/HS3pPAknVO
Baker, who was a first-round pick of the New York Giants in 2019 by way of the Georgia Bulldogs, was released by his former team over the Summer after he was arrested in May for multiple counts of armed robbery and aggravated assault. He was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list before his release.
On Monday morning, an arrest was made on the prosecution’s attorney, William Dean, for attempting to extort nearly $800,000 out of Baker in exchange for weakened statements from three of the four alleged victims of the case. Those three had already recanted their individual sworn statements last month.
As a result of Dean’s arrest, all charges against Baker have been dropped and the case has been dismissed. Baker’s defense team said that Baker has been “a victim of an extortion from day one.”
So now, after potentially facing a minimum 10 years in prison, Baker’s services on the football are attracting the Bengals and many other teams. Pro Football Focus graded Baker 78th out of 84 qualifying cornerbacks in coverage in 2019, but the rookie ended the season on a high note. His coverage grade ranked eighth out of 77 during the final six weeks of the season.
The Bengals entered Week 10 with just four healthy cornerbacks and lost Mackensie Alexander to a concussion during Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. On the surface, no team needs a cornerback of Baker’s caliber like them.