Should the New York Giants consider bringing back Olivier Vernon in 2020?

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Olivier Vernon
Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants linebacker Olivier Vernon (54) warms up before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With reports stating that the Cleveland Browns could be releasing pass-rusher Olivier Vernon, it opens the door for the New York Giants to consider re-signing him for the season ahead.

The Browns will offer Vernon an ultimatum, which includes a pay-cut from his $15.5 million non-guaranteed salary on the final year of his deal. After sustaining injuries in 2019, Vernon’s return to the Browns seems unlikely, according to Rotoworld:

Vernon is owed a non-guaranteed $15.5 million in the final year of his deal. After an injury-shortened 2019, Vernon would likely need a pay cut to return with the Browns — something he’s seems unlikely to accept. Cleveland may look to free agency — they’ve been linked to Everson Griffen — to replace Vernon as Myles Garrett’s bookend.

Vernon only played in 10 games last season, logging 3.5 sacks and 11 QB hits. While his production took a significant hit, he’s still capable of putting together productive totals. However, he hasn’t breached 8.5 sacks since 2013 with the Miami Dolphins.

The New York Giants don’t need to look his way but could:

While I don’t imagine the Giants will consider him in free agency, he’s a much cheaper option than the free agents readily available. Yannick Ngakoeu is reportedly seeking $22 million in free agency, a seemingly expensive price for a good but not great pass-rusher.

Vernon will be 30 years old this year, indicating he’s still physically in his prime and ready to make a comeback in the numbers department. Injuries have hurt his progress and momentum in the NFL but scooping him up on a cheaper deal might be a decent move.

If he’s willing to accept $10 million in free agency, the Giants could also bring back Markus Golden and completely revamp their secondary. Again, Vernon hasn’t been cut just yet by Cleveland, but it’s seeming likely that he hits the open market one year early. Grabbing him on a one-year prove-it deal might give Big Blue an opportunity to extract the most value out of him without having to sign him to a multi-year contract.

Dave Gettleman is looking quite intelligent for trading him away in return for right guard Kevin Zeitler, right about now.