Panthers Signing Former Saint Eli Apple Won't Help Them Close Gap on New Orleans

Carolina Panthers cornerback Eli Apple
Carolina Panthers cornerback Eli Apple / James Gilbert/Getty Images

After his deal with the Las Vegas Raiders fell through, former New York Giants first-round pick Eli Apple decided to stay in the NFC South for the 2020 season.

Following a rough 2020 season with the New Orleans Saints, Apple signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers in a move that once again signals that Matt Rhule is essentially punting on the 2020 season.

Carolina drafted four defensive backs in the 2020 NFL Draft, including cornerbacks Troy Pride Jr. and Stantley Thomas-Oliver, so Apple isn't guaranteed a starting spot.

After a really promising 2018 season, Apple regressed to his usual, inconsistent stuff in 2019, as he didn't record a single interception while allowing a passer rating of 100.9 on throws targeted at him. Donte Jackson will go into the season as the No. 1 cornerback, meaning Apple will compete with Pride and former Miami star Corn Elder for the No. 2 cornerback spot.

Apple's athletic gifts have enticed yet another team to take a chance on him. Hopefully the third time is the charm and he finally sticks long-term.