First the facts: For those who haven’t been following, Last night the Miramar (Florida) Police tweeted that an arrest warrant was issued for two NFL players DeAndre Baker (New York Giants) and Quinton Dunbar (Washington Redskins). The two players allegedly robbed people at a house party alleviating them of approximately $37,000 in cash, watches and jewelry.
People at the house party were playing video games and cards when DeAndre Baker, Quinton Dunbar and a third man (wearing a red mask) broke into the house and robbed guests at gunpoint. The two NFL players will be charged with four counts of armed robbery and four counts of aggravated assault. One detail reported to police that was particularly disturbing is that Baker instructed the man in the red mask to shoot anyone if they tried to come through the door.
I do find it puzzling that the police department put out a tweet indicating a warrant was issued for the arrest of the two players who were named in the tweet. It makes me wonder if a hypothetical CEO of an automotive company that also produced tennis balls and anti-aircraft missiles, who would have committed the same crime, would have been named in the police department’s tweet. I was also shocked to learn that holding someone at gunpoint was illegal in Florida. Who knew?
I am kidding of course as this case is quite serious. Luckily no one was hurt in the altercation. While Baker and Dunbar await the legal process to see what lies ahead for them, this obviously is an issue for their NFL clubs to deal with. There will be no rush for the league offices to take action as the Covid-19 pandemic has the 2020-21 season in jeopardy to begin with. Still teams need to start weighing pros and cons.
For the Seahawks, Dunbar is a new arrival. Quinton Dunbar asked to be released or traded from the Washington Raceskins. Dunbar hasn’t really laid his roots and Pete Carroll is a Super Bowl winning coach who is largely admired as being one of the best in the NFL. If I were a betting man, I would hedge toward him being released before playing a game with his new team. I also think the case for DeAndre Baker is more interesting.
Armed with a yellow legal pad Dave Gettleman (NY Giants GM) needs to evaluate whether or not enduring the storm with Baker will be worthwhile. He traded three picks to move up and select Baker with the 30th overall pick in 2019. I, as a Georgia Bulldogs fan, liked the move while most Giants fans and media disliked the pick. A New York post article referred to Baker as being “dumb as dirt” and “uncoachable”. I found this fascinating when you consider how many college players come into the league who have been treated like stars since high school, are given everything on college campuses and then expected to be humble once they’re paid millions to do what they’ve done for years. But I digress…
Firstly, after a tough rookie season, DeAndre Baker improved in his second season. He showed flashes of the ability he showed in college and was looking to become an anchor for the G-Men’s secondary in his third year. There is also the inherent value of first round picks. These picks do tend to get the most chances at success but it has also been reported that about 50% of first round picks end their careers as perceived busts. This is much lower a bust rate than later rounds but does seem somewhat high.
The fact of the matter is, that NFL players are often seen, for the most part, as replaceable cogs in the machine. The most valuable obviously see the longest tenures and are extended the longest leash (case in point: Ben Roethlisberger who has been indicted for sexual assault twice during his NFL tenure). However, most coaches and general managers are often willing to roll the dice on younger versions of the same proto-type who have less mileage on their bodies. In an NFL where teams carry many more defensive backs than any time in the league’s history, the position is more valuable but each individual player is seen as an archetype. These archetypes can be replaced through scouting and their individual skills seem to matter less than having the right types of pieces to fit into a defensive scheme.
The moves made by the Giants after this incident will be intriguing. Dave Gettleman needs to know that he’s already opened his first letter. The first letter of course (made famous in Nicholas Cage’s Lord of War) refers to a letter left to Czar Nicholas II to open after his first crises. The letter indicates that he is to blame everything on the Czar’s predecessor. In this case, Giant’s ex-coach Pat Schurmur fell victim to the first letter. If this is not handled delicately Dave Gettleman will need to walk over to the weirdly oversized desk we saw on draft night, open the drawer and open that second envelope. Anyone who’s seen the movie, of course, knows that once this step is taken, Gettelman will simply see the words: Start writing two letters.