Cornerback, Eli Apple, Signs With The Carolina Panthers
It does look as if the NFL season will take place in full, unless something major happens between now and then. The season may be played with no stands or just 25% of the fans in the stands but it does look like it will take place. That is good news for all sports fans.
The Carolina Panthers had a rough season last year and while they upgraded their offense with the addition of Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, they made even bigger improvements on defense by using all seven of their draft picks on that side of the ball. The Panthers have continued to work on their defense and on Friday, they signed cornerback Eli Apple, who played for the New Orleans Saints a year ago. I will get to his stats in a moment. The deal is worth one year and is for 3 million dollars with a signing bonus of $750,000. He had reportedly agreed to a 6 million dollar contact with the Raiders early on in free agency but those talks eventually fell apart.
The Carolina Panthers did rank 13th against the pass last year but still, they have a weak and inexperienced secondary. Carolina did draft four defensive backs, including Jeremy Chin (Southern Illinois) in the 2nd round but still, this is an area that needs help. They hope to have solved that problem with the signing of Eli Apple.
Eli began his career with the New York Giants and he had one INT, 20 passes defended, and six fumble recoveries in 30 games with the team. Early in the 2018 season, he was traded to the New Orleans Saints and had two INTs, nine passes defended, and 42 solo tackles in 10 games with the Saints that year. Last year, he played in 15 games and had no INTs and just four passes defended but he did have 53 solo tackles. Last year was not a great one for him but Apple still has a world of talent and the Panthers are hoping to pull that out of him.
Prior to signing Apple, the Panthers had just one player on in their secondary with at least three years of experience. They lost James Bradberry to the Giants in free agency and that left a huge void at the cornerback position. He had 8 INTs, 47 passes defended, and 222 solo tackles in his four years with the Panthers. Carolina made it a priority to add a veteran presence in the secondary after the draft was over and they did just that. The Panthers appear to have greatly upgraded their defense this year overall after ranking 23rd in total yards allowed (374.5 ypg) and 31st in points allowed (29.4 ppg) a year ago.
Some Info Gleaned From Sports Illustrated.