Raiders look for more help at corner as Eli Apple deal falls apart

Tribune Content Agency

The Raiders remain the market for a potential starting cornerback Thursday after their free-agent deal with Eli Apple wasn’t finalized and the cornerback opted to re-enter the market.

The news was first reported by ESPN and confirmed by a team source. Apple, defensive tackle Daniel Ross and tight end Nick O’Leary are the lone free agents who have not yet been made official by the Raiders. The delay with Apple, who had reportedly agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal, had to do with being unable to get a physical.

The Raiders lost out early in free agency on cornerback Byron Jones, the top free agent on the market who signed with Miami Dolphins with the Raiders a finalist.

Apple, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft by the New York Giants, was traded to the New Orleans Saints. After a Raiders source confirmed on March 18 that Apple had agreed to terms, the cornerback posted retweets of the news of his deal with the Raiders on Twitter.

Not having to account for Apple gives the Raiders another $6 million to work with to find a veteran corner in addition to the probability of selecting one in the NFL draft April 23-25. Apple was going to be given a chance to compete for a starting job opposite second-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen.

Potential targets for the Raiders include Dre Kirkpatrick, an eight-year veteran who was released by the Cincinnati Bengals. Paul Guenther, the Raiders’ defensive coordinator, served in that capacity in Cincinnati when Kirkpatrick was a starter. Last season, Kirkpatrick went on injured reserve after sustaining a hyper-extended knee in the sixth game of the season.

The Raiders could also bring back Daryl Worley, an unrestricted free agent who started 24 games over the last two seasons.


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