If the Bengals lose a defensive back in NFL free agency, it has to be Eli Apple
There is a lot to like about the Bengals going forward. While the offense gets talked about ad nauseam, Lou Anarumo’s defense is next level. There are playmakers at all three levels, but not everybody from the 2021 unit will return. One player who is probably looking to play elsewhere in free agency is former Ohio State Buckeyes standout Eli Apple. He gave up the losing touchdown.
Apple has bounced around the league thus far. From the New York Giants to the New Orleans Saints to the Carolina Panthers to the Bengals, that is four teams in six years for the former top-10 pick by the G-Men. While his talent is obvious, Cincinnati does have another key player in its secondary hitting free agency in Jessie Bates. He would get picked up by the Bengals over Apple.
Ultimately, he needs to cash in this offseason by finding what team would be interested in giving him a multi-year deal. Though Apple has had his moments bouncing around, organizational stability might be the best thing for him to close out his late 20s in the league. That could be with Cincinnati, but again, the Bengals would be smarter to prioritize bringing back Bates over Apple.
Even if Apple, Reiff and Uzomah walk, look for the Bengals to be active in free agency once again.