From what he has seen, Steve Spagnuolo has no reason to believe DeAndre Baker is anything other than a young cornerback with potential to become a bona fide NFL player.
“There’s nothing, no indications from the relationship I’ve had right now with him to indicate there’s something bad there,” Spagnuolo, the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator, told The Post. “But who knows?”
Spagnuolo can only go by what he sees and senses. The first encounter with Baker came on Nov. 19 when he was signed to the Chiefs practice squad, three days after all charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault against Baker were dropped in Broward County, Fla. This came two months after the Giants waived Baker, a player they traded up to get at No. 30 overall in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Giants, with new head coach Joe Judge heading into his first season determined to change the culture of his locker room, decided enough was enough with Baker, who struggled through a difficult rookie season, followed by the alleged incident in Miami that led to a warrant for his arrest. The Chiefs, looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, are not adverse to taking chances on players with legal issues. They took a flier on Baker, bringing him to Kansas City as a practice squad player.
Baker was signed to the active roster a month later, got on the field for special teams situations and played on defense for the first time in Week 17, with the Chiefs resting starters in a game they would eventually lose to the Chargers. Baker dropped Justin Herbert for his first NFL sack but did not make it out of that game, as he went down with a fractured femur. He had surgery and is expected to be ready to play at the start of next season.
“I’m glad you asked about him,” Spagnuolo said. “He was just on the practice squad, and then he played in the last game that didn’t mean anything to us, and he was playing really well, made a great break on one play, almost had an interception. The injury that he had, it was ugly, but he’s gonna be okay. The femur was fractured, believe it or not, but it was a clean one and it’s gonna heal fine. I kinda like his talent.
“It was hard to get to know him as a kid in that short of a period of time. I do like his talent. I’m hopeful we can get him back. I’d like to work with him.”
Baker, 23, does not have a contract for 2021. Spagnuolo hopes Baker’s career continues in Kansas City.
“Hopefully he’s matured and learned,” Spagnuolo said. “We’re talking a guy on a practice squad rather than playing for you and having the pressure to perform and all that. For the most part, he did a nice job for us. You always want kids like that to hopefully bounce back.”