The Raiders agreed to a one-year, $6MM deal with cornerback Eli Apple during the first wave of the free agent period, but that agreement has since fallen through, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
While Schefter doesn’t indicate exactly why Apple’s deal with Las Vegas is being nixed, Apple does have a recent injury history that theoretically could have played a role. An ankle injury forced the 24-year-old to miss the Saints’ final regular season game and Divisional Round contest against the Vikings. Given the COVID-19 crisis, players aren’t able to conduct normal physicals with team medical staffs, so it’s possible Apple’s ankle issue was a factor in the undoing of his pact.
Apple, a first-round pick in the 2016 draft, spent the first two years and change of his career with the Giants before being dealt to New Orleans ahead of the 2018 trade deadline. He went on to start 20 total games with the Saints, and his performance was something close to average, as Pro Football Focus graded him as the league’s No. 61 corner among 112 qualifiers in 2019.
Apple immediately becomes one of the best cornerbacks available on the open market, while the Raiders are now once again hunting for a new defensive back to play alongside fellow corners Trayvon Mullen and Nevin Lawson. Aside from Apple, other free agent options include Darqueze Dennard (who, like Apple, had an agreed-to deal canceled), Dre Kirkpatrick, Aqib Talib, Johnathan Joseph, and Ross Cockrell.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.