The New York Giants can, mostly, thank the $52.5 million guaranteed dollars from John Mara's checkbook for Olivier Vernon deciding to sign with the team. They can partially thank some words of encouragement Vernon got from Jason Pierre-Paul. Interestingly, though, the Giants can also thank Antrel Rolle, their former defensive captain and current member of the Chicago Bears.
Rolle, a Giant from 2010-2014, would probably still be in New York had the Giants really wanted to keep him. Still, Vernon said he works out occasionally with Rolle and that the former Giants safety had "great things" to say about the Giants.
"He told me about the organization, how it's first class all the way. He loved every last bit of it when he was here," Vernon said. "He just kept saying good things, great things all the time."
Vernon also heard good things from Pierre-Paul, who is back on a one-year deal.
"All he did was praise the organization," Vernon said.
Here are more of other takeaways from Vernon's introductory conference call on Thursday.
He knows how bad the 2015 defense was
There is a reason the Giants have spent more than $200 million to sign five defensive players in free agency thus far, and Vernon understands it."They've been known for having great defenses, and great defensive players, especially on the defensive line," he said. "I'm glad to be a part of this, glad to be a Giant, part of the G-Men. They're trying to win and get the defense back right. Last year wasn't what it was expected to be and that's not the standards of the Giants defense. That's not the Giants way.
"I can't wait to take the field."
He knows that with big money come big expectations
Vernon won't be expected to be just a cog in the wheel of the Giants' defense. With a contract guaranteeing him more money than any 4-3 defensive end in league history, he will be expected to star.
"There's always going to be expectations, right," he said. "I know what work I have to put in to get to where I want to get to. It's all about having patience and working hard and being myself. Not having any type of outside influence faze me."
He knows why the Giants signed him
"Watch the film. I think anybody who could watch the film could describe what I do best and what I don't do," Vernon said. "I like stopping the run and I like rushing the passer ... My main goal is to go after the quarterback."