The New York Giants found a taker for Olivier Vernon’s contract.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport report that the Giants are trading Vernon to the Cleveland Browns, per sources informed of the situation.
The Browns are shipping guard Kevin Zeitler to New York in the swap, per Garafolo and Rapoport. The Giants are also sending the No. 132 overall pick (fourth round) to Cleveland and getting the No. 155 overall pick (fifth round) in return.
The pact can’t be consummated until the new league year opens on March 13.
The swap helps the Giants shore up a porous offensive line with one of the best guards in the NFL. The Brownshad been shopping Zeitler with 2018 second-round guard Austin Corbett in line to take over duties. Zeitler has a base salary of $10 million in 2019 and is under contract through 2021. New York also re-signed center Jon Halapioon Friday.
Big Blue was seeking to trade Vernon, who is due $15.25 million in base salary in 2019 and 2020, ahead of free agency. What looked to be an untradeable contract found a home with the cap-flush Browns.
Vernon spent three seasons in New York after signing a five-year, $85 million deal in 2016. Despite nagging injuries that caused him to miss nine games the past two seasons, Vernon can still be a force off the edge when healthy. The 28-year-old compiled seven sacks in 11 games in 2018. Pro Football Focus graded Vernon the No. 8 edge rusher in the NFL last season.
Pairing Vernon with young stud pass rusher Myles Garrett provides the Browns a potentially menacing duo in defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ system.
With a dearth of edge rushers hitting the open market this season, Cleveland GM John Dorsey elected to use his large swath of cap space to bring in a proven veteran to a rising young team.