Another season has passed where the New York Giants underperformed and had a disappointing record, this time a 5-11 record. Since the G-Men are not in the playoffs there focus will switch to evaluating players and determine who should stay on the roster and who should be wished luck on their future endeavors. One player that could be released by the Giants is Olivier Vernon.
Vernon was signed in the Big Blue spending spree in free agency during the winter of 2016 to be the pass rusher Big Blue needed. Playing all 16 games in 2016 Vernon had 64 tackles and 8.5 sacks for a defensive unit that helped bring the Giants to the playoffs. Unfortunately,2016 was the only season Vernon played all 16 games for Big Blue. In 2017 Vernon was one of the many players on the Giants that missed significant time as Vernon was sidelined for four games and the G-Men went an awful 3-13. Even though Big Blue had an awful 2017 Vernon still had 6.5 sacks which illustrates Vernon can be a disruptor on defense.
2018 the Giants had a wholesale change with a new General Manager David Gettleman being hired, new head coach in Pat Shurmur replacing Ben McAdoo, and James Bettcher being named the defensive coordinator. Vernon was one of the players affected by this change because Vernon would have to switch from defensive end to linebacker. While asked to change positions Vernon also missed 5 games in 2018 but was able to still get his sacks as Vernon had 7 sacks in 11 games in 2018. According to Pro Football Focus Vernon had an 86.3 rating and was attributed as being good in three categories rushing the passer, stopping the run, and in coverage.
While Vernon is still a solid NFL player you must examine the last two years of Vernon’s contract to determine if the Giants should keep him or release him. Over the next two years Vernon will cost the Giants 39 million dollars in salary and bonus and if released Big Blue would only lose 8 million in cap space with the breakdown being 4 million in 2019 and 4 million in 2020 because of the structure of the signing bonus in Vernon’s contract. SImply put, Vernon is not worth the 19 million dollars a year and the Giants could draft a pass rusher in this upcoming draft in the first round while taking the cap space created and addressing needs elsewhere on the roster.