Eli Apple will be a free agent at the end of the 2019 season after the New Orleans Saints declined the cornerback's fifth-year option.
Apple was drafted 10th overall in 2016 by the New York Giants and acquired by the Saints at the trade deadline in 2018.
Thursday is the deadline for teams to pick up fifth-year options for 2016 first-round picks. All draft picks sign four-year deals, and first-round draft picks have a fifth-year team option. Apple's fifth season in 2020 would have been worth $13.7 million, which ranks among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL.
To acquire Apple from the Giants, the Saints gave up fourth- and seventh-round draft picks. Apple had two interceptions in 10 games for the Saints after intercepting one pass in 30 career games with the Giants. He also had nine passes defended with the Saints, more than in any single season with the Giants.
The Saints did pick up the fifth-year option for their own 2016 draft pick, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.
--Field Level Media