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Assessing the Giants' options at cornerback amid DeAndre Baker's legal issues

Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker on Sunday, Oct 6,

Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker on Sunday, Oct 6, 2019 at MetLife Stadium. Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Vera Nieuwenhuis

One of the provisions of the hearing that set DeAndre Baker’s bail at $200,000 on Sunday morning is that he cannot leave the state of Florida, although the judge said that could be modified at a later date if he needs to be elsewhere for employment.

Whether that will be necessary remains to be seen.

Baker remains on the Giants’ 90-man roster, but the team can’t be counting on him returning as a starting cornerback for the 2020 season. If his legal troubles remain unresolved when the Giants are able to return to the field, a likely outcome will be his placement on the commissioner’s exempt list. Depending on the outcome of his case, the Giants also could decide to cut ties with the player they selected with a first-round pick just 13 months ago.

The Giants have told Baker to concentrate on his legal matters and stay away from the team’s online meetings for the time being, a source confirmed. For now, the Giants are holding their voluntary offseason program virtually over computers because of the coronavirus. They are not expected to be able to practice together until the start of training camp, which currently is scheduled to begin in late July.

Assuming Baker will not be available to them at that point, a number of options already are on the roster and others remain available in free agency.

On the team, Sam Beal would be the player most likely to replace Baker as an outside cornerback opposite James Bradberry. Beal was a third-round pick in the 2018 supplemental draft and has a history of injuries that are worrisome. He has played only six NFL regular-season games. Most of the other cornerbacks on the roster are projected more as interior nickel backs: Grant Haley, Julian Love, Corey Ballentine and rookie Darney Holmes, who was a fourth-round pick out of UCLA last month.

Seventh-round pick Chris Williamson was an outside cornerback at Florida and Minnesota and has the size to play there in the NFL (6 feet, 205). To jump from the 247th overall selection in the draft to the No. 2 cornerback on the Giants, he’d have to really stand out during the short time the Giants will be on the field before the season starts.

The most intriguing option not currently on the roster is Logan Ryan, 29, a free agent who has played for the Patriots (when Giants coach Joe Judge was with New England) and Titans. He is coming off a career year in which he had 105 tackles, 4.5 sacks and four interceptions for Tennessee. Ryan is a New Jersey product who played at Rutgers and has expressed a desire to return home. For most of this offseason, that meant the Jets. Now there could be two possibilities.

Another free-agent option could be Dre’ Kirkpatrick, who also has connections with Judge dating to their time at Alabama. At 30, he’s an experienced starter but is coming off a season in which he missed 10 games because of a knee injury.

Other free-agent veterans include Darqueze Dennard, Brandon Carr (who was with the Cowboys when Giants defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson was there) and a pair of former Giants: B.W. Webb and Eli Apple. The Giants would be more likely to have a reunion with Webb than their former first-round pick, who was unceremoniously traded in the middle of his second season with the team.

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