Eli Apple is staying in the NFC South.
The cornerback has agreed to terms with the Carolina Panthers on a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Apple's deal is worth $3 million and includes a $750,000 signing bonus.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said only a day earlier his team needed a veteran at the position and didn't waste time in finding one. Hurney sought and secured a recent rival of the Panthers in Apple, a former first-round selection of the New York Giants who was traded to New Orleans in 2018.
Apple had his best season in coverage in 2018 after landing in New Orleans, posting his top coverage grade of his four-year career, per Pro Football Focus. He descended back to reality in 2019, a season played only months after the cap-squeezed Saints decided to decline his fifth-year option on his rookie deal.
Apple walked to free agency in March and had a deal in place to join the Las Vegas Raiders, but that agreement ultimately fell through, leaving him available for hire until Thursday. Though he's yet to sign on the dotted line in Carolina, it sounds as if this agreement is more certain.
Apple joins a secondary that was desperately in need of help. After promising corner Donte Jackson, the next starter listed on Carolina's depth chart was former Miami Hurricane Corn Elder. Carolina selected two cornerbacks in Troy Price Jr. and Stanley Thomas-Oliver, but there simply wasn't much in the way of depth. If nothing more, Apple brings intriguing talent to a group largely lacking it.