The Las Vegas Raiders have been hard at work since the start of NFL free agency, particularly trying to improve their defense.
The big splash they made was the signing of linebacker Cory Littleton, who will anchor the middle of their defense in both the pass and run games. They also made some other depth additions like linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, defensive tackle Maliek Collins and safety Jeff Heath.
One of their biggest needs all along though has been finding a cornerback to play on the opposite side of Trayvon Mullen, who had a promising rookie season.
It appears they have found that player as they will be signing former New Orleans Saints cornerback Eli Apple, per Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group:
Newest Raider . . . Eli Apple . . . has agreed to terms. #Raiders.
— Jerry McDonald (@Jerrymcd) March 18, 2020
According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Apple will be making $6 million on a one-year contract and all of it is guaranteed:
#Raiders CB Eli Apple's deal: one year, $6 million base salary, all of it fully guaranteed, another $500k in incentives. No signing bonus, as has been the case with all the team's deals this spring. Cash flow apparently an issue.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 23, 2020
Apple originally was a first-round pick of the New York Giants (10th overall) in 2016 out of Ohio State. While he didn’t work out there, he developed into a solid corner after being traded to the Saints in 2018.
In 15 games for New Orleans last season, Apple had 58 total tackles, four passes defensed and an interception, playing for one of the most-improved defenses against the pass in the league. He had an overall rating of 63.8 from Pro Football Focus, which was up from the previous season.
He suffered an ankle injury towards the end of the season, but should have no problem being ready for 2020.
While Apple is capable of being a starter, it would not be surprising to see the Raiders bring in another cornerback through the draft to compete with him for the job. Las Vegas owns the 12th and 19th overall picks in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.