Eli Apple‘s hamstring trouble only allowed him to play in two games with the Panthers. They released the former top-10 pick Tuesday.
Apple began the season on IR and aggravated the hamstring malady upon debuting in Week 4. After making his second return in Week 7 against the Saints, the ex-New Orleans corner left Carolina’s Tuesday practice because of a hamstring strain, David Newton of ESPN.com tweets.
While Apple would be entitled to an injury settlement, the Panthers are cutting the cord and turning their outside coverage effort over to younger talent. Carolina has third-year corner Donte Jackson, fourth-year man Corn Elder and former Eagle Rasul Douglas at this position. All three have graded as top-25 corners, in the view of Pro Football Focus, through seven games. The Panthers also drafted Troy Pride in Round 4 and Stantley Thomas-Oliver III in Round 7 this year. Douglas, however, resides on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
Apple played just 28 defensive snaps with the Panthers — all against the Saints on Sunday — and just 34 overall. This marks another setback for the 2016 No. 10 overall pick. Apple has bounced from the Giants to the Saints to the Raiders to the Panthers and back to free agency. In May, the Panthers signed him to a one-year deal after his previous Raiders pact — a one-year, $6MM contract agreed to on the first day of free agency — fell through.
The Ohio State alum is still just 25, however, and started 15 games for the Saints last season. He will almost certainly receive another opportunity.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.