Giants cornerback Deandre Baker has been placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Baker, of course, is facing several charges for his alleged role in an armed robbery. Dunbar has landed on the list as well, Rapoport adds (via Twitter). Both players will appeal this placement, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links).
The Exempt list means that Baker and Dunbar will be barred from playing or practicing, though they will be paid while they wait in limbo with the league office. Effectively, the Exempt list is used to give the NFL time to wait things out while legal matters and the league’s own investigation plays out. Earlier this year, the Giants asked Baker to stay home and focus on his off-the-field matters. The Seahawks, however, were including Dunbar in their virtual offseason.
Baker is facing eight felony charges stemming from his alleged involvement in an armed robbery that took place in May. Dunbar faces four. Last month, Baker was reported to be involved in an attempt to pay off witnesses to recant their statements related to the robbery. Dunbar’s former attorney, Michael Grieco, was allegedly involved in this scheme as well. Baker’s attorney denies this occurred and said his client has passed a lie detector test.
Prior to Monday’s news, the Giants had not informed Baker to stay away from camp. The second-year cornerback was planning on attending, per Schwartz. The Giants traded back into the first round to draft Baker in 2019. He represents their biggest draft investment in a cornerback since they used a top-10 pick on Eli Apple four years ago. Baker struggled in coverage as a rookie but was expected to remain a starter under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham this season. Monday’s news will stall such plans and may well force the Giants to look at possible replacement options — at least for the time being.
Seattle sent a fifth-round pick to Washington for Dunbar, whom Pro Football Focus graded as one of the NFL’s best corners in a breakout, four-interception 2019 season. The sixth-year defender landing on the Exempt list, however, will force the Seahawks to play other corners in his place. Seattle’s 2019 starters, Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers, remain on the roster.
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