This won’t be a quiet offseason for the New York Giants. On top of the intrigue of the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Giants have a lot of decisions to be made of the current NFL roster. The Giants are going to need to clear up some cap space for offseason additions, especially if general manager Dave Gettleman wants to keep $8-$10 million freed up for the regular season as he told reporters at the combine. With about $28 million in cap space now, per Over The Cap, and around $11 million needed to sign the draft class, that doesn’t leave a lot of money to spend elsewhere.
That left the impression cuts and restructures are likely to come. The problem is the Giants do not have a lot of outlets to move money around and only few contracts allow cap space to be freed. One of them belongs to Olivier Vernon and a report from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo suggests the Giants are exploring trades for the pass rusher.
The #Giants have discussed the possibility of trading LB Olivier Vernon, sources tell me and @RapSheet. The big score of free agency a few years ago, Vernon might have played his last down as a Giant.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 1, 2019
Vernon has been a polarizing player for the Giants since he signed his massive five-year/$85 million contract with $40- million guaranteed in 2016. Between injuries and a lack of sacks, many believe Vernon has not lived up to that deal, though it could and should be argued his value is more than just sack numbers.
Trading Vernon before June 1 would free up $11.5 million with $8 million left in dead money. If kept, he is set to have a $19.5 million cap hit in 2019. The trade would free up $15.5 million in cap space with $4 million in dead money if it takes places post June 1. If traded, Vernon would count as just a $15.5 million cap hit over the next two seasons with no guaranteed money left on his deal.
A Vernon trade might be more appealing for other teams after a potential deep group of free agent edge rushers becomes more shallow. Top players like Demarcus Lawrence and Dee Ford are not expected to hit the open market and earlier on Friday, the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a new contract with Brandon Graham.
The Giants would not have an easy time replacing Vernon’s production on a defense that was not as bad as perceived at creating pressure against opposing quarterbacks last year.
There will surely be more to come over the next few weeks.