Free Agent Watch: Olivier Vernon
With the Giants locking up Jason Pierre-Paul for at least another season that keeps one familiar face on the defensive line for the 2016 season. The question is if Jerry Reese will bring in an outside player to solidify the unit that lead to Super Bowl titles in 2007 and 2011, and if he does who will it be?
With the recent moves made by the Miami Dolphins, defensive end Olivier Vernon is a viable option for the Giants. The Dolphins have a deal in place with former Bills’ defensive end Mario Williams for 2 years, which adds him to an already strong d-line. The Dolphins defensive line now has Williams, Cameron Wake who had 7 sacks in seven games last season as well as defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who just finished his first season in Miami.
So despite placing a transition tag on Vernon (which allows the Dolphins to match any offer that another opponent gives him) keeping him would create a very expensive defensive line for the Dolphins.
The moves the Dolphins made allow the Giants an opportunity to pull Vernon away from Miami, but it will not be easy. Reese will have competition from all over for Vernon. The Browns, Raiders, and Jaguars are among teams that will go after Vernon and once again he could also stay put in Miami. Plus, with the deals that Williams and Pierre-Paul have received, Vernon could command up to $15 million a year. This means Reese is going to have to be willing to pay pretty good money to get Vernon to New York, but the Giants have the cap space to make it happen.
Vernon entered the league in 2012 as a third round pick to Miami. In those four seasons he has played in every game and has accumulated 29 sacks. His best production year was in 2013 when he recorded 11.5 sacks. Vernon has shown he can get to the QB and consistently show up week in and week out, which is exactly what the Giants need right now. Pulling Vernon away from Miami and potentially resigning, team sack leader in 2015, Robert Ayers would create a major improvement in the pass-rushing department.
And we all know the Giants need major improvement in that department.
by Thomas Peticca (@peticca95)