It’s looking more and more like second-year New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple will not return to the team next season.
The Giants announced that they have suspended Apple for their Week 17 game for conduct detrimental to the team. The incident in question apparently came during Wednesday’s practice when Apple got into it with an assistant coach.
This comes on the heels of Apple feuding with All-Pro teammate Landon Collins over the past couple weeks (more on that here).
Now, according to Pro Football Talk, lanaguage in Apple’s rookie deal suggests that the final two years of his contract are no longer guaranteed following Wednesday’s suspension.
“The suspension for conduct detrimental to the team will wipe out his otherwise guaranteed compensation for 2018 and 2019. Which means that the Giants can cut Apple and owe him nothing,” PFT’s Mike Florio noted.
Under the collective bargaining agreement signed back in 2011, all contracts for first-round picks are guaranteed. Though, teams have been able to set up a situation in which off-set language enables them to get out from under said contracts. This is what the Giants did here when they inked Apple after drafting him No. 10 overall back in 2016.
Apple has a base salary of $4.3-plus million over the next two seasons, none of which would be guaranteed if the Giants released him. This likely played a role in the team deciding to suspend him.
We still expect the Giants to look at the trade market as a way to rid themselves of Apple. But if that doesn’t come to fruition, releasing him is more likely than deciding to hang on to the embattled defensive back. Apple has started 18 games over the past two seasons, recording 98 tackles and just one interception while defending 15 passes.