Bengals add another one, sign ex-Saints, Panthers CB Eli Apple

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John Sigler
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NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday that another former New Orleans Saints defender has landed with the Cincinnati Bengals: cornerback Eli Apple, who spent part of the 2020 season among a crowd of ex-Saints on the Carolina Panthers. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

The Bengals made a big splash in signing the Saints’ sacks leader Trey Hendrickson to a $15 million per-year contract last week, which followed their 2020 acquisition of former New Orleans safety Vonn Bell — who was an Ohio State teammate of Apple’s in their college days. Cincinnati also made a run at Saints free agent Sheldon Rankins, but the defensive tackle signed with the New York Jets instead.

Apple had a great game with the Saints in their last meeting with the Bengals, picking up a pair of pass deflections and an Andy Dalton interception he returned 29 yards in the 51-14 blowout win. That takeaway must have left a lasting impression. He hasn’t done much since then, though, totaling just 28 snaps on defense in his Carolina stint; all of those came against the Saints in the final game he played last year, with the Panthers releasing him soon after. For now, he’s a depth piece at best and will probably have to win a training camp competition for a roster spot.

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