Free agency is heating up, and while the Cincinnati Bengals may look to retain more internal talent vs. poaching from other franchises, they have already lost a few critical pieces and should be active in the near future.
One name to keep an eye on is Eli Apple, who was one of the team’s starting cornerbacks this past season. Apple was a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft but only spent a few seasons in New York before being traded to the Saints and bouncing around several teams.
Apple was later released by the Panthers in 2020, then signed by Cincinnati, where he’s done well as a second or third-string corner.
The Bengals, per defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, may be interested in bringing back Apple, but there doesn’t seem to be a rush, per Mike Petraglia.
Lou Anarumo on Eli Apple says Bengals are open to bringing him back but have to see how the free agency market plays out first and if another team shows interest in the corner.— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) March 14, 2023
Apple ended last season with 15 starts and made 49 tackles, one tackle for a loss, and eight pass defenses. He played a key role due to the injury of starting cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. But with the rise of 2022 second-round pick Cam Taylor-Britt, the veteran corner might not be as crucial to re-sign.
That said, there doesn’t seem to be a hot market for Apple at the moment. If that continues, perhaps we’ll see him back in Cincinnati after all.