The New Orleans Saints have acquired Eli Apple in a trade with the New York Giants in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Giants selected Apple with the No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but the cornerback failed to live up to expectations.
Apple is the most recent first-round pick to be let go by the Giants. Two weeks ago, they cut offensive lineman Ereck Flowers, who they selected ninth overall in 2015. Flowers inked a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars following his release from New York.
In acquiring Apple, the Saints addressed a position of need. They were reportedly in the market for Arizona Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, who requested a trade because of his unhappiness with the state of the franchise. Apple is nowhere near the caliber player of Peterson, but he has had his best season as a pro, recording 23 tackles with one forced fumble in five games. The 23-year-old missed two games earlier in the season due to a lingering groin injury.
Apple had a tumultuous tenure with the Giants, reaching its pinnacle at the end of the 2017 season when he was suspended for the final game of the year for arguing with the coaching staff for putting him on the scout team during practice. The team-imposed suspension came on the heels of teammate Landon Collins publicly condemning Apple, saying the cornerback needed to “grow up.”
The Giants saved roughly $1 million in salary cap space in 2018 and $2.5 million in 2019 by trading Apple. Owners of a 1-6 record—tied for the worst mark in the NFL—the Giants have finally accepted the rebuilding path. After a disastrous 3-13 campaign in 2017, the Giants oddly approached this past offseason with a win-now approach by signing guard Patrick Omameh and tackle Nate Solder to lucrative deals and trading for linebacker Alec Ogletree. These offseason acquisitions have not ended the franchise’s losing ways as the team is on pace for another last-place finish in the NFC East.