Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon are officially Cleveland Browns, as the Giants’ trades were made official when the new league year kicked off at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Giants GM Dave Gettleman released an official statement about the trades by first wishing both former Giants nothing but the best as the move on with their careers.
“The New York Football Giants would like to thank Odell Beckham, Jr. for his contributions,” Gettleman said. “We truly wish him well in Cleveland, and we want to wish OV the best and nothing but success for both of them.”
Between the two trades, the Giants received two draft picks — the No. 17 and No. 95 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft — as well as G Kevin Zeitler and S Jabrill Peppers. While Gettleman is excited about the “draft capital” he now has under his belt in this year’s Draft, he also talked about the immediate impact players the Giants received, starting with Zeitler.
“We’re very excited we were able to get a quality NFL guard in Kevin Zeitler,” Gettleman said. “We’ve already had him in here, and he passed his physical. That really adds another piece to the offensive line repair that we have going. Now, we have most of the line under control for the next couple years. It’s a great opportunity for us to build stability on our offensive line. We’re excited about that.”
Zeitler will be plugged into the right guard position, as the Giants continue to shore up their offensive line. The 29-year-old has made 103 starts in 104 regular-season games over his career, all of which came at right guard. He was ranked the sixth-best guard in the NFL last season by PFF as well as the top-graded pass-blocking guard.
As for Peppers, the Michigan product is back home, having grown up in East Orange, NJ. A former first-round pick in 2017, Peppers struggled in his rookie season, but picked up his production last year.
Gettleman has followed the safety since his high school days, and knows they are getting a “quality safety” to fill the void left by Landon Collins.
“We’re very excited to have Jabrill,” Gettleman said. “A lot of people remember him from his days at Paramus Catholic. He’s coming back home. I spoke to him last night and he’s excited and thankful and couldn’t wait to get here. Jabrill is a quality safety in this league and he is a legitimate linchpin on the back end of your defense. The way this game is being played, your safeties are critical in pass defense.”
With these two players locked down for next season, Gettleman now has 12 draft choices for late April, and he has to spend them wisely with the Giants having mutliple holes on their roster. New York seems to be in rebuiliding mode following their recent moves that also include trading away Eli Apple and Damon “Snacks” Harrison at the trade deadline this past season.
It may not look that way considering who is no longer in the blue and white, but Gettleman reassured Giants fans that a plan is in place to get the team back to its winning ways.
“You can win while you build a roster,” he said. “We do have a plan, and this is a part of it.”