Source: Short-handed Dolphins agree to deal with Eli Apple

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The Miami Dolphins have agreed to a contract with free agent cornerback Eli Apple, a source told ESPN on Saturday, confirming reports.

The former first-round selection of the New York Giants started 30 games for the Cincinnati Bengals across the past two years.

Miami coach Mike McDaniel told reporters Friday that Miami would be in the market for a veteran in the defensive backfield after cornerback Jalen Ramsey's knee injury earlier this week. And Apple, who turns 28 next month, fits the bill.

Coming off his second consecutive one-year contract with the Bengals, Apple started 15 regular-season games in 2022 as one of the team's primary outside cornerbacks.

He was targeted more than any other Cincinnati defensive back in 2022, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. As the nearest defender, he had a completion percentage that was 2.6% lower than expectation and had minus-5.7 total expected points added when targeted.

Initially, Apple was signed in 2021 as a reserve option for Cincinnati's secondary, but he took over as the full-time starter when Trae Waynes went down with a hamstring injury. That role was again solidified this past season when Chidobe Awuzie went down with an ACL injury in Week 8. In his two seasons, he started 31 of his 40 regular-season appearances for the Bengals.

A 2016 first-round pick, Apple has five career interceptions along with 335 tackles, 3 forced fumbles and 51 passes defended. He has also played for the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers over his seven NFL seasons.

There is some history between Apple and new teammate Tyreek Hill. Apple called Hill "a baby" on Twitter after his Bengals beat the Kansas City Chiefs to reach the Super Bowl during the 2021 season, and tweeted an offer to buy Hill and then-Kansas City teammate Mecole Hardman tickets to the game.

Before the Dolphins and Bengals played last season, Hill said he was excited to play against Apple, adding he owed the cornerback payback for his trash talk. Hill caught 10 passes for 160 yards in a Dolphins loss. The All-Pro receiver made light of their purported beef once news of Apple's signing came out.

On Saturday, Hill posted on Twitter that "Monday practice gone be fun".

Ramsey poked fun at that situation, as well, on social media, encouraging the two new teammates to "play nice out there".