Browns acquire Olivier Vernon from Giants for Kevin Zeitler

With the majority of the top pass rushers being franchised tagged earlier this week, John Dorsey went to the trade market and found one.

The New York Giants have traded pass rusher Olivier Vernon and pick 132 (fourth round) to the Browns for right guard Kevin Zeitler and pick 155 (fifth round). 

Cleveland clearly needed help to accompany Myles Garrett in terms of pass rushing and New York was looking to get rid of Vernon’s contract as he hasn’t lived up to the five-year, $85 million dollar contract he signed with the team three years ago.

When healthy, Vernon has been one of the best pass rushers in the league even if the stats don’t show it.

After missing the first five games of the season last year, Vernon had 30 tackles (5 for a loss), 7 sacks and 21 QB hits in 11 games as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the Giants defense.

He was named a Pro Bowl alternate but because of an injury to Khalil Mack, Vernon got to play in the game for the first time in his career.

With the Browns playing in a 4-3 base defense, Vernon will transition back to defensive end which he played in with the Miami Dolphins and with the Giants before Pat Shurmur and James Beetcher switched to a 3-4.

A lot of Browns fans are upset over the fact that the team traded away Zeitler, one of their best offensive lineman.

The rumors have been out there this week and Cleveland.com suggested that he could be available this offseason to allow Austin Corbett, the team’s second round pick to be able to finally get on the field.

Zeitler was a solid pro since the team signed him to at the time, the biggest contract for a guard in league history in 2017.

It’s a shame the team had to finalize the trade on his 29th birthday but that’s the business of the NFL.

He’ll be an upgrade to the Giants offensive line which has struggled in recent years to protect Eli Manning.

Here is the salary cap implications of the deal from Jack Duffin.

Vernon’s contract is basically a 2 year, $19.1 million a year deal with the Browns once you add Zeitler’s dead cap. This means he has the second most expensive edge rusher contract in the NFL behind Khalil Mack according to Over The Cap.

The deal breaks down as:
2019 – $22.7m
2020 – $15.5m

Here are the salary cap numbers for the teams dead cap and the new teams will have the player on their contract:

Vernon
Dead Cap – $8m
2019 – $15.5m
2020 – $15.5m

Zeitler
Dead Cap – $7.2m
2019 – $10m
2020 – $10m
2021 – $12m

Mike Clay has tweeted out Olivier Vernon rankings among edge rushers when active last season:
Sacks: 10th (8)
QB hits: 2nd (13)
Total Pressures: 9th (46)
PFF pass rush grade: 7th (86.0)

Olivier Vernon is certainly a very talented player, we will find out about the cap cost verses the other options available after Free Agency in a weeks time.

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