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Giants Trade Eli Apple to Saints, Signifying Start of Rebuild

Following their sixth loss of the season against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night, the New York Giants began what looks to be the start of a teardown.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday afternoon that the Giants traded cornerback Eli Apple to the New Orleans Saints. In return, the Giants receive New Orleans’ 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2020 seventh-rounder.

Apple’s Tenure in the Big Apple

Eli Apple was taken tenth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by then-Giants general manager Jerry Reese. Apple was viewed as a first round talent, but there were question marks at taking him so early in the draft that year. Regardless, the selection of Apple filled a need on the Giants.

Apple had a strong rookie season, leaving many excited for his long-term potential on a then-playoff contending New York team. However, things turned sour quickly in his second season. Apple found himself benched on numerous occasions, even being demoted to the scout team during practices in late 2017. The corner would get suspended for arguing with a coach and for having conduct deemed detrimental to the team. Not to mention the comments by safety Landon Collins, who called Apple “a cancer.”

Once Dave Gettleman entered the fray as the team’s new general manager, he mentioned that Apple had received a clean slate with the team and new head coach Pat Shurmur. This season, Apple recorded 23 total tackles, five passes defensed, and one forced fumble through five games.

Now, Apple will join former Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore for the Saints, as the team has a pass defense ranked 28th in the league in terms of passing yards allowed per game (293.7), and has only recorded two interceptions on the year.

As for the Giants, B.W. Webb, Antonio Hamilton, and Grant Haley could all see an uptick in snaps with Apple traded to the Big Easy.

The Teardown Begins

With the trade of Apple, the rebuild many have been clamoring for appears to be taking shape.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the belief among teams in the NFL is the Apple trade signifies the Giants are “open for business.” One of the names La Canfora mentions is cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who he says is receiving interest from the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Jenkins has struggled mightily this season, which was exemplified against Alshon Jeffery in Week 7. He carries a $14.5 million cap hit in 2019 and 2020. Considering his poor play in 2018, the Giants could be willing to bite at the right offer.

One name that will not be placed on the trading block is outside linebacker Olivier Vernon, as reported by Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media. Vernon does carry a $19.5 million cap hit for the next two years (if he doesn’t use his opt-out clause), and has been hit by the injury bug on numerous occasions during his tenure. However, Vernon is New York’s only semblance of a pass rush, which is something the team desperately needs.

Those are the only two names reported on the trade block, but there could be others added if the price is right.

Landon Collins is in the final year of his rookie contract, and if Gettleman doesn’t see any chance of them reaching a long-term deal, could choose to ship him out.

There is also Damon Harrison, who, like Vernon, has an opt-out clause at the end of the season.  Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill are younger, cheaper replacement options for “Snacks.”

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching on Oct. 30 at 4:00 p.m. ET, the name of the game is draft capital, something in which New York needs to solidify their future. All eyes will be on the the Giants, as they appear to be finally pulling the trigger on a rebuild.

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Scott Rogust
General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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