Giants reportedly trading edge rusher Olivier Vernon to the Browns for guard Kevin Zeitler
The Browns get some pass rush help while the Giants solidify the offensive line
The New York Giants have found a new home for Olivier Vernon. According to multiple reports, the Giants are sending Vernon to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a player. NFL Network identified the player as guard Kevin Zeitler.
The teams are also reportedly swapping picks, with the Giants sending No. 132 to the Browns in exchange for No. 155.
There have been rumors for a couple weeks that the Giants were looking to move Vernon, whom they signed to a five-year, $85 million contract three years ago. Vernon recorded 28 tackles for loss, 22 sacks, and 56 quarterback hits across 39 games with New York, numbers which are solid but not necessarily elite.
He had been set to count on the Giants’ books for $19.5 million in 2019, with a base salary of $15.25 million and workout bonus of $250K. By trading him prior to June 1, they’ll save $11.5 million against the cap and carry $8 million in dead money on their books for the 2019 season.
Cleveland, meanwhile, adds Vernon to a defensive line that already features Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi, which should make them one of the more fearsome defensive fronts in the AFC. That will also help their Denzel Ward-led secondary, which struggled at times when the Browns were unable to get pressure last year. The Browns also still have plenty of cap room available to add talent to the back end, as well as to their offensive skill group if they want.
Bringing in Zeitler continues the Giants’ efforts to remake their offensive line, which began last year with the signing of Nate Solder and drafting of Will Hernandez. They likely still need to find some more help up front to help Saquon Barkley and (sigh) Eli Manning, but they could also be transitioning elsewhere on offense as rumors are still swirling around the future of Odell Beckham Jr., for whom the Browns are also considered a suitor.