Olivier Vernon’s salary never matched his production. The Giants are banking on that being different with Kevin Zeitler.
The Giants shipped Vernon to the Browns Friday morning, and strengthened their long-struggling offensive line with the addition of Zeitler, according to multiple reports. Vernon was entering the fourth season of a five-year, $85 million deal in 2019. The Giants will also receive a 2019 fifth-round pick from Cleveland (No. 155), while the Browns receive a 2019 fourth-round pick from New York (No. 132), NFL.com reports.
Zeitler, 29, was a first-round pick out of Wisconsin, in 2012, and was graded by Pro Football Focus as the sixth-best guard in the NFL last year. In 2017, Zeitler signed a five-year, $60 million deal with Cleveland, which was the richest contract given to a guard at that time.
Vernon, 28, had signed with the Giants in 2016, as part of a high-priced rebuilding of the defense, but the team’s best pass rusher was slowed by injuries, missing nine games over the past two seasons. The linebacker, who is scheduled to make $15.5 million in 2019, registered 22 sacks in 39 games with the Giants.