Will Eli Apple be part of the New York Giants’ roster in 2018? There has been some talk from teammates about Apple getting another chance after a tumultuous season, and talk of clean slates from GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur.
Those things, though, are not guarantees that the 2016 first-round pick will be back with the Giants after a season that ended with him suspended for the final game following an argument with a coach.
If the Giants wanted to trade Apple rather than gamble that the maturity issues that derailed his sophomore season will work themselves out, where could they send him? Here are five potential suitors.
The Raiders had one of the league’s worst pass defenses in 2017. They began trying to re-construct it by parting ways with veteran cornerback David Amerson. Under Al Davis, Oakland was always a home for misfit type of players. Jon Gruden is a Davis disciple, and he might be willing to roll the dice that he can harness the talent that got Apple drafted in the first round. Oakland has 11 picks in the upcoming draft to bargain with.
Oakland cornerback Gareon Conley, a teammate at Ohio State, has defended Apple.
Eli one of the hardest workers I know watch more film and study the game more than anybody lowkey showed me how to watch film and prep that's my brotha great person.. ain't no way he a cancer wish you the best .. don't let em hold you down the real know wassup @EliApple13— Gareon Conley (@_gconley8) December 28, 2017
The Titans struggled against the pass last season, finishing near the bottom in many of the pass defense categories tracked by Team Rankings. Tennessee defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs was Apple’s DB coach at Ohio State.
SB Nation’s Music City Miracles says:
Corner is not as big of a need for this team as it was last year, but they could use another top end guy to go with Adoree Jackson and Logan Ryan. A nickel defense featuring Jackson, Ryan and Apple would stack up pretty well against anyone.
Apple is still playing on his rookie deal. He is signed through 2019 with a club option for 2020. From a salary cap standpoint, he would be solid acquisition. Rosenthal speculates that Apple could be acquired for “pennies on the dollar.” If that equates to a day 3 pick, and Coombs thinks he can get him to come in here and play with his head on straight, sign me up!
The Buccaneers are another team that was at or near the bottom of the rankings in many pass defense categories last season.
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport listed Apple to Tampa Bay as one of the more realistic trade scenarios this offseason. The biggest holdup? Price, of course.
Even if New York’s amenable to moving Apple, compensation could be hard to arrive at. The Giants would likely angle for a Day 2 pick given what they just paid for Apple in 2016. The Bucs could balk at that notion given how badly Apple struggled in 2017 and refuse to offer more than a fifth. I split the difference, but finding that sweet spot could be the biggest sticking point with this deal.
OK, so the Chiefs didn’t trade Marcus Peters to the Giants for Apple. But, they DID trade the All-Pro corner to the Los Angeles Rams for a plethora of draft picks. Which means they have draft picks to maneuver with, and a need at cornerback. Peters is gone. So is Darrelle Revis, whom the Chiefs released. They added Amerson, but his 39.7 Pro Football Focus score last season put him in the “poor” category.
Of the scenarios on this list, it might be hardest connect the dots between Apple and Seattle. Still, it’s not impossible.
The Seahawks’ legendary ‘Legion of Boom’ is getting older and could use some reinforcements. Apple has talent that might appeal to the Seahawks. Seattle also historically likes big, athletic corners. Apple’s draft measurements were mostly near the top of the 2016 class.
What would Apple’s value be? Per Adam Schefter, the Chiefs got second- and fourth-round picks in exchange for Peters and a sixth-rounder. The Giants aren’t getting anything close to that for their 2016 first-round pick. At best, the guess here is that Gettleman might squeeze a third-round pick out of a needy team. More likely, though, a fourth-round choice.
If that is the return, should the Giants make a deal? Or, should they cross their fingers and hope that Apple matures and plays to his talent level?