Chiefs Release Former 1st-Round Pick Defender: Report

Getty Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Deandre Baker and Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen.

The Kansas City Chiefs have released cornerback Deandre Baker, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN on Aug. 7.

As a former first-round pick of the New York Giants in the 2019 NFL Draft, Baker was cut by the Giants in September of 2020 following him being prosecuted for robbery and gun charges earlier in the year. However, all gun charges were dropped against Baker in November of the same year, per ESPN. That sparked Kansas City signing him later in the month to its practice squad.

Baker played in a total of two games for the Chiefs during the 2020 season, according to Pro Football Reference. His season came to a halt when he suffered a broken leg in the team’s Week 17 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

During the 2021 season, Baker played eight games and started one of them. He recorded his highest PFF grade of the season in his lone start, which came in Week 4 during a win over the Philadelphia Eagles (74.9).

Kansas City had 90 players on its roster heading into the weekend, and then the team signed wide receiver Devin Gray on Saturday, Aug. 6. So, the Chiefs needed to make room for Gray on the roster, which led to Baker’s release.

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Baker Pushed Out of Loaded CB Room

After losing starter Charvarius Ward to free agency this offseason, Kansas City traded for former Houston Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. and drafted Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams, and Jaylen Watson in the first, fourth, and seventh rounds respectively. Package those guys in with the return of L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton, and the Chiefs need to hash out which corners will have large roles this upcoming season.

Sneed, McDuffie, and Fenton are players that can be assumed as locks to make the 53-man roster. A strong case can be made that Chris Lammons, who is listed as a corner but is a core special teamer, is also a lock. That leaves at most two spots available to fill at corner for the Chiefs’ regular season roster. Johnson, Baker, Watson, Williams, and Brandin Dandridge were the players competing for those last two roster spots.

Baker’s release prior to Kansas City’s preseason opener against the Chicago Bears on Aug. 13 is likely because the coaching staff has seen enough from the team’s young corners early on in camp to have confidence in their development moving forward.

Twitter Reacts to Baker’s Release

Twitter users reacted to Baker’s release.

“I’m optimistic that this just means that the CB corps are in good hands. Baker was a decent CB and looked pretty good in his limited chances. He never improved to the level of what you’d hope for a former 1st Rounder,” one Twitter user wrote.

“He wasn’t gonna beat out the rookies, this gives him more time to find and establish himself with a new team. Props to the Chiefs for the class move,” another Twitter user wrote.

“Sad for Baker, happy for Chiefs because this screams that they are very comfortable with the progress of the young guys,” another user wrote.

“I was at the game when he got hurt, sucked so much to see it all unfold live. I was pretty happy with his progress but these rookies seem very legit. Good luck to Baker, he should find a landing spot soon enough!” another user wrote.

“I guess that’s a good sign if the young guys beat out a vet. Watch the Bengals sign him. Lol,” another user wrote.


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