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Raiders sign cornerback Eli Apple

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Raiders bring in former 10th overall draft pick from the New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints
Eli Apple
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

This post was originally about what cornerbacks the Raiders can sign in free agency.

But, because the Raiders move faster than a Jacoby Ford 40-yard dash, we had our answer before I could complete this piece.

I had Apple listed as one of my secondary options. This move is clearly a sign the Raiders are running out of salary-cap space. That should not be a surprise. Apple is the eighth free agent the Raiders have agreed to terms with, he could be the fourth defensive starter in the group.

Apple has been just an average player since being the 10th overall draft pick by the Giants in 2016. In 2018, he was shipped out to New Orleans after poor play and some issues with teammates for a seventh-round pick. He continued to be inconsistent with the Saints. Apple has three career interceptions. He started 15 games last season.

While he hasn’t been great, he fits the Raiders’ mold of being a big corner who can move at 6-1, 203 pounds.

There is no sure thing Apple will start, but the Raiders were looking for a starter to pair with second-year player Trayvon Mullen.

The Raiders tried to sign Byron Jones before he cashed in big with Miami and have flirted with other cornerbacks.

The top option was Denver’s Chris Harris. The Raiders have been connected with him. Other cornerbacks who could have fit the Raiders in free agency included Logan Ryan of the Titans, Jimmy Smith of the Ravens, Ronald Darby of the Eagles and Nickell Robey-Coleman of the Rams.

UPDATE: Harris signed with the Chargers.

It’s not out of the question that the Raiders sign another cornerback. They can look at the position at either No. 12 or No. 19 in the first round.

Among the top draft cornerback prospects who could be available to the Raiders are Florida’s C.J. Henderson, Alabama’s Treyvon Diggs and LSU”s Kristian Fulton.

For now, Apple has an opportunity.