Eli Apple will become a free agent in 2020 after the Saints declined to pick up the cornerback’s fifth-year option, NFL Network reported Wednesday.
The #Saints have decided they will not pick up the fifth-year option for CB Eli Apple, source says. So he will be slated to be a free agent at the end of this upcoming season.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) May 1, 2019
The Saints had until Thursday to decide on Apple’s option, but it doesn’t appear the organization is ready to make an investment in the young cornerback’s long-term future in New Orleans.
He is set to earn a base salary of $2.5 million for the 2019 season, but the Saints declined to pick up the $13.7 million price tag on his fifth-year option, which likely would have made Apple among the highest paid cornerbacks in the league in 2020.
The 23-year-old Apple was acquired from the Giants in a trade last October before the deadline. In return, the Giants received a 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick from the Saints.
The cornerback compiled 52 tackles with nine passes defended and two interceptions in 10 games with New Orleans last season and he’s expected to start again in 2019. He finished 2018 with 75 tackles, 14 passes defended, two picks and one forced fumble, marking his best year in the league so far.
Apple was originally selected by New York with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2016 draft.