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Giants news, 3/9: Reactions to Olivier Vernon-Kevin Zeitler trade

Let’s see what others are saying

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns
Kevin Zeitler
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, New York Giants fans!

Let’s get right to some of the reactions to Friday’s Olivier Vernon for Kevin Zeitler trade.

Giants fans seem happy. In our poll, 39 percent of 5,646 voters (2,210) gave the trade an A, 41 percent (2,325) gave it a B and 14 percent (781) gave it a C. Only a combined 6 percent gave the deal a grade of D or F.

In case you missed it, Dan, Chris and yours truly offered our reactions on Friday’s Big Blue View Radio podcast.

NFL Trades: Browns and Giants both win Olivier Vernon trade |

Vernon was traded for Zeitler not because of his ho-hum pass rushing production, but because his run-stopping prowess slipped a bit in an injury-riddled 2018 campaign. He also did not quite have the premium multidirectional pliability to be a special chess piece in coordinator James Bettcher’s patented blitz packages. Instead of enduring Vernon’s $19.5 million cap hit at an edge position that Bettcher’s defensive scheme does not demand (not to the intense degree that most schemes demand, anyway), they’ll endure Zeitler’s $10 million cap hit at a right guard spot that, in their offensive scheme, does need to be filled.

A weakness of New York’s—interior O-line play—can now be a strength, with Zeitler solidifying the right guard spot opposite last year’s second-round left guard Will Hernandez. Guard play is where your rushing attack’s schematic diversity derives; the Giants suddenly have the pieces to do more than just the simple inside zone runs that have defined them in recent years. Which means Zeitler’s addition, theoretically, increases the value of arguably the team’s most important asset, Saquon Barkley.

NFL Trade Grades: Giants and Browns both winners in Oliver Vernon, Kevin Zeitler swap | CBS Sports

CBS gives the trade an A- from the Giants perspective.

I really like this deal for the Giants. The financial ramifications and the pick swap are the only things keeping their grade from being a pure A.

Zeitler is one of the best players in the league at his position (which happens to be a position of major need for the Giants), and while he is under contract for two more years after this one, none of his future salary is guaranteed, so New York can elect to cut ties at any time without taking any additional dead money on the books. Zeitler counts for $10 million against the cap this year, which is less than the $15.5 million base salary Vernon was set to draw, but the trade of Vernon accelerates an $8 million dead money charge onto their books.

With Zeitler and Will Hernandez locked in at the guard spots for the next few seasons, the Giants should be much better blocking in both the run game and the pass game, which should be a big help to Saquon Barkley and whoever takes over for Eli Manning when the Giants finally realize he is done. Losing Vernon off the defensive line leaves a hole up front, but they should be able to fill the spot either in the draft or free agency with a cheaper option. Whoever they choose may not have the upside of Vernon, but it’s not like Vernon has really tapped into his upside since his first year in New York anyway.

Olivier Vernon trade: The next steps to salvaging Giants offseason | New York Post

Columnist Steve Serby has it all figured out. Draft a pass rusher at No. 6. Drop a second-round pick on the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for Josh Rosen. Done.

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