The New York Giants are reportedly shopping outside linebacker Olivier Vernon.
According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport, the team is looking to trade the 28-year-old Vernon. He signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Giants in 2016.
Vernon has two years and $30.5 million left on his deal. He is scheduled to earn $15.25 million in base salary and a workout bonus of $250,000. He carries a cap hit of $19.5 million but the Giants could release him and carry $8 million in dead money.
Vernon was asked about his future with the Giants at the end of the regular season.
“That’s really out of my hands right there,” Vernon said in an interview with nj.com’s Ryan Dunleavy. “All I’m really focusing on is today. I’d love to be back. But, again, that’s out of my control.”
Vernon played in just 11 games in 2018 after missing the first five games of the regular season with an ankle injury. He finished with 30 combined tackles (23 solo), seven sacks, and 21 quarterback hits. Vernon led the team in sacks and quarterback hits but 2.5 of his sacks came in a meaningless regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.
Pierre-Paul (12.5), Kennard (7.0), and Okwara (7.5) had almost as many sacks collectively (27) as the Giants had as a team (30).
Vernon has produced in his time with the Giants with 131 combined tackles (92 solo), 22 sacks, and 56 quarterback hits. However, he’s been limited to just 23 games in the past two seasons due to injury.
Head coach Pat Shurmur, who famously doesn’t call out his players in the media, made one notable exception in late November with Vernon. Shurmur acknowledged Vernon’s contributions but did take a swipe at him.
“Certainly, getting pressure on the quarterback is important,” Shurmur said. “He is out there. He is contributing. When you don’t sack the quarterback or the quarterback has a pretty good day throwing the ball, certainly part of it is the rush.”
Shurmur was asked if he believed the problem was Vernon getting double-teamed because of his reputation as a pass rusher.
“No, I don’t see teams spending extra resources at all,” Shurmur said.
General manager Dave Gettleman was purposely coy when asked about Vernon earlier this week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
“We’re still in the evaluation process,” Gettleman said.
Gettleman felt the absence of playmakers on defense was the main reason for the Giants’ 5-11 record.
The previous regime spent too much on Vernon but he is their best pass rusher. The Giants are also considering using their franchise tag on safety Landon Collins. Gettleman acknowledged tagging Collins might not be the most fiscally prudent move. In spite of Collins’ limitations in coverage, he is a stat stuffer and one of the defense’s best players near the line of scrimmage.