While the New York Giants lost game after game, pass-rusher Olivier Vernon remained sidelined for the first five matchups of the season, watching idly by as his teammates floundered in disappointment.
The desperation of a pass rush, an offensive line, a quarterback, and an efficient front-office, has haunted the Giants for years. General manager Dave Gettleman put his best effort forth in the 2018 NFL Draft, but his free agent signings have been lackluster at best. Three of his draft picks are currently starting and have immense potential, while another was arrested for resisting arrest after a traffic violation on Tuesday morning.
The team has its strengths and weaknesses to say the least, but one player that will be a tough cut in 2019 is Vernon.
Why the New York Giants should cut Olivier Vernon in 2019:
Vernon will account for $19.5 million of the cap next season, which would earn him about as much as most starting quarterbacks. He’s a valuable asset, but is he worth that kind of cash?
The Giants’ top pass-rusher has recorded just 7.5 sacks in two seasons. To put that into perspective, Jason Pierre-Paul, who’s currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has recorded seven this season alone. Once again, the Giants missed big time on the utilization of their talent.
Now, despite Vernon’s shallow sack totals, he’s superb at hurrying the quarterback and forcing them to make mistakes. He’s also a great tackler and run-stopper. His primary issue is staying healthy. Vernon has missed seven games in 1 1/2 years. In the games that he did play, he powered through a broken hand and a high ankle sprain. This year he’s dealing with another ankle issue.
It’s fair to say that the transitioned outside linebacker is far from his former self, and coughing up $19.5 million just doesn’t seem economically efficient. Alternatively, the Giants should consider eating $8 million in dead cap and use that money to try and lure in a player like Lions’ Ezekiel Ansah.
Coming off a stellar year where Ansah recorded 12 sacks and 44 combined tackles, his price tag shot up to $17 million. So far this year, he’s only played in a single game. It’s likely that his price will drop due to him having a bum campaign. He will require another contract season to earn the big-bucks. Best case scenario he proves to pull his weight and is re-signed for the long-run.
Of course, these are all hypotheticals, but a massive cap-hit would piggy-back on Vernon’s return and would ultimately be a questionable move probability-wise.