Thursday, June 30, 2022

Chiefs retain former first-round talent for 2022 season: report

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Minicamp may have just ended in the NFL, but the moves are still being finalized, and the Kansas City Chiefs made another deal official on June 17.

Corresponding ESPN NFL insider Field Yates: “Chiefs CB Deandre Baker has officially signed his tender for exclusive rights as a free agent.”

This tender was originally placed before free agency in March for the earlier 2019 first-round selection and was intended to equate to a one-year contract worth $965,000 — per over the cap.

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Baker’s return was always expected, but now that it’s official it’s another cornerback in a very crowded fight at training camp. The Chiefs invited into the secondary with undrafted rookies both in the draft and afterwards.

The current roster includes eight players who profile as CBs, six versatile defenders and four prototypical safeties. That’s 18 men fighting for about eight to ten places. Eliminating the players who are guaranteed a spot on the list has an even smaller chance of a bubble contender reaching 53.

Injuries aside, those sure things are L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton, Justin Reid, Juan Thornhill, and top draft picks Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams, and Bryan Cook. You can also assume that draft picks like Jaylen Watson and Nazeeh Johnson have a good chance of making it, but they’ll have to earn it as seventh-round picks.

In any case, that’s seven “guarantees,” meaning two or three places to win — a tough task for Baker and company (Watson, Nazeeh Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, Deon Bush, Chris Lammons, Nasir Greer, Zayne Anderson, Dicaprio Bootle , Brandin Dandridge and Devon Key).

But of course, this isn’t Baker’s first NFL opportunity.

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It’s incredible to think that Baker is only 24 years old and that his NFL career only began in 2019 when the New York Giants drafted him No. 30 overall. The road from Georgia to Kansas City was long and nothing went as planned.

A 2018 All-American, Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award for Best Defenseman in College Football. He was only allowing for 175 yards this season and a 40.2 NFL passer rating.

During his rookie campaign with the Giants, Baker allowed 808 passing yards with an NFL passer rating of 130.1, according to Pro Football Focus. He was arrested in May 2020 on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault with a firearm and placed on the Commissioner’s exemption list in July of the same year.

Though those charges were eventually dropped in November 2020, the Giants decided to forgo their first-round pick two months earlier in September. Then he got his second chance with the Chiefs.

As a player on and off the field, Baker has improved since joining KC. Despite this, its passer rating has hovered around 115.0 over the past two years.

With his NYJ tender in 2022 extremely low-risk, it could be an uphill battle for Baker to create the week one roster.

As a player on and off the field, Baker has improved since joining KC. Despite this, its passer rating has hovered around 115.0 over the past two years.

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