DeAndre Baker’s legal issues remain unresolved, but his status with the Giants has a bit more clarity.
The second-year cornerback, who is facing four charges each of armed robbery and aggravated assault with a firearm from an incident in Florida in May, was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list on Monday, a source confirmed. Baker will not report to Giants training camp with the other veteran players on Tuesday and will not count against the Giants’ 90-man roster, but if he remains on the list when the regular season begins, he will receive a weekly paycheck from the league.
Seahawks defensive back Quinton Dunbar, who is facing charges from the same incident, also was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. Baker’s attorney, Patrick Patel, said Baker plans to appeal the designation through the NFLPA.
Both players maintain their innocence, but the charges against them have remained in place since they were first filed and the two men were arrested more than two months ago. The Broward County district attorney is still investigating the alleged crimes.
According to the NFL, the exempt list is “a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances.” Only the commissioner can place a player on the exempt list, but the Giants wanted Baker to receive that designation. They asked him to not participate in this spring’s virtual voluntary offseason program. Though players on the exempt list can have limited interactions at a team facility, the Giants have asked Baker to stay away now that training camp is beginning.
With Baker unavailable to them — perhaps briefly if the charges against him are dropped or altered soon, perhaps for good if he is found guilty of the eight felonies — the Giants will have to use training camp to find a new player for that position. Sam Beal, Grant Haley, Julian Love and rookie Darnay Holmes may all get an audition, and the Giants could add a veteran free agent to the mix as well now that they have some clarity on Baker’s roster status.
Baker is the second Giants player in two days to have his status with the team altered because of offseason run-ins with the law. The Giants officially waived kicker Aldrick Rosas on Monday; he was charged with three misdemeanors in a hit-and-run accident in California in June.
Notes & quotes: All 10 of the Giants’ draft picks have signed their rookie contracts after physicals on Monday, including first-round pick Andrew Thomas, who inked a fully guaranteed four-year deal worth $32.2 million, with $21.1 million as a signing bonus . . . While many teams already are trimming their rosters to 80 players, which is the maximum as of Aug. 16, the Giants will go into training camp with 90 player spots available and use the next three weeks to determine which 80 will make the cut. That will require them to have on-field workouts and use the locker room facilities in two separated groups to maintain acceptable social distancing.