Saints Make Right Decision In Declining Eli Apple’s 5th Year Option
New Orleans Saints cornerback Eli Apple will have an opportunity to get a big payday in 2020, but it will depend on how he plays in 2019.
The Saints reportedly declined to pick up the 5th year team option on Apple's current contract, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network.
Apple will become a free agent following next season.
Set to make $2.5 million in base salary this year, Apple had a 5th year team option because he was a first round pick in 2016.
Traded from the Giants to the Saints last October for a 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick, Apple proved to be a valuable defensive piece, starting the rest of the season at cornerback opposite Marshon Lattimore.
While Apple played well, he hasn't been one of the top cornerbacks in the league. Had the Saints picked up the 5th year option, he'd be paid like one in 2020 at a salary of $13.7 million, which would all count against the salary cap.
He never reached his potential in New York, and still has more to prove in New Orleans.
In 10 games with New Orleans last season, Apple procured 52 tackles, was credited with 9 passes defensed and 2 interceptions.
As a projected starter in 2019, Apple has an opportunity to improve his stock and earn a multi-year deal in free agency next summer.