The former top-10 pick agreed to a one-year deal worth $4MM. While Apple did not finish his season well, being targeted on the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI-winning drive and giving up the game-winning touchdown, he bounced back on the whole after a 2020 no-show with the Panthers.
Apple started 15 games for the Bengals last season and will see a notable raise, though the 2021 campaign did not result in a substantial market for the ex-Giants draftee. The Bengals gave Apple a one-year, $1.2MM deal in 2021. Apple joined Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton as the team’s top corners; Apple usurped the injury-prone Trae Waynes on the team’s depth chart. Waynes is not expected to be with the Bengals much longer.
While it is not certain if the Bengals will make an effort to upgrade their coverage corps with an outside hire or high draft choice, Apple did intercept two passes last season and play 93% of the snaps for Lou Anarumo‘s resurgent defense. Pro Football Focus assigned Apple a middling grade for the 2021 season.
The six-year veteran would represent a good depth piece, though redeploying him as a full-timer would be somewhat risky for a Bengals team now presented with high expectations. Apple returning, however, means the Bengals stand to have their full five-man secondary back for next season.