With UFL free agency in full swing across the league, the DC Defenders have begun sporadically making signings with only a handful of roster spots remaining. Over the past 72 hours, the team has signed OL Sadarius Hutcherson, TE Shaun Beyer, and most recently CB Deandre Baker.
Let’s take a deeper look at those signings, and how they might impact the Defenders moving forward.
OL Sadarius Hutcherson, South Carolina
With the interior depth of the offensive line slightly on the thin side for DC heading into camp, Hutcherson will come into camp with the opportunity to compete immediately for a starting job opposite of All-XFL RG Liam Fornadel.
Hutcherson’s SEC experience should prove valuable, as he started 39 career games during his four-year career at South Carolina. Hutcherson should bring flexibility to the position, as he primarily played left guard and left tackle at SC. Hutcherson had a brief stint in the NFL, mostly due to suffering a torn ACL in his first preseason game with the Buccaneers. Two years later, Hutcherson signed with the Memphis Showboats, but failed to register a snap with the team and was released this offseason before the league merger.
As mentioned, Hutcherson will be a name to watch during camp and as we get closer to the season kicking off.
TE Shaun Beyer, Iowa
Another former Arlington Renegade is joining the DC roster, this time with the 6 ‘5, 250 lbs, mountainous TE Shaun Beyer. Beyer comes from Iowa University and is looking to continue the Hawkeyes trend of stellar tight end play, with players like George Kittle, TJ Hockenson, and Sam LaPorta all hailing from the land of corn. At Iowa, Beyer’s receiving production was minimal with 18 career catches, but he was able to see the field quite a bit due to his outstanding ability as a blocker.
Beyer did not appear as a “frequent flier” for Arlington in 2023, only appearing in four games for the XFL Champions. Nonetheless, Beyer has the opportunity to see a massive uptick in production with DC as the current tight ends room includes two returners in Briley Moore and Alex Ellis. Neither of which has a chokehold on the starting position as of now.
CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
JUST IN: The DC Defenders have signed CB Deandre Baker. The former New York Giants first round pick started 15 games in 2019, and last played with Kansas City in 2022.
Baker joins a Defenders DBs room that is beginning to look stacked with names like Michael Joseph, Gareon… pic.twitter.com/9ZLSZ830qp
The most notable name of the bunch, Deandre Baker, has been signed by the DC Defenders after spending three seasons in the NFL. The former first round pick of the New York Giants in 2019 was released from the team after only one lackluster season, with it mostly being attributed to his robbery charges that were later dropped in 2020. Baker landed with the Chiefs practice squad following the resolved incident, where he saw multiple elevations before suffering a broken femur in the final week of the regular season. Baker saw the field in 2021 for KC, but was released prior to the following season.
Baker, now 26, enters the talented DC defense with a massive chip on his shoulder after such a steep fall out of the NFL. Baker will have his work cut out for him in camp with the Defenders defensive backs group currently including every returning starter from 2023, along with fellow former first round pick, Gareon Conley.
With the Defenders roster now at 72 players, expect a few more signings to trickle in as we inch closer to training camp starting on February 23rd. Quarterback remains a position to keep an eye on (as always), but specifically look out for another addition as Deondre Francois and Jalan McClendon remain the only two on the roster.