Olivier Vernon remains DL1 in NY
The $52.5M guaranteed money that the Giants are paying Olivier Vernon to leave Miami might look like they’re signing him to compete with Eli Manning for the starting quarterback job, but instead he’ll be asked to bolster a rebuilt defensive line that resigned Jason Pierre-Paul and brought in 350-pound DT Damon Harrison to help stop the run. The deal is for five years and could be worth up to $85M.
With the signing of Vernon, the Giants will likely part ways with Robert Ayers, who has drawn interest from the Buccaneers and Dolphins. Ayers registered 10 sacks last season, his most since coming into the league in 2009. Despite the career year, Ayers will be 31 years old when the season begins next year, and signing the younger Vernon is seen as a better long term move for the Giants as they are trying to get back to the playoffs after missing out the last four years.
Vernon is just 25 years old and has notched up 31 sacks in his four years in the league. The addition of Ndamukong Suh to the Dolphins defensive line last season via free agency was a boon for Vernon as Suh drew double teams from interior lineman, giving Vernon more one-on-one match ups on the outside.
Vernon was our top-rated 4-3 DE last season for his overall grade (92.2), but it was the second half of the season when he really came alive, recording 64 pressures. His 39 tackles in that time led his position, and his nine sacks were tied for the most among all 4-3 defensive ends, ironically with Robert Ayers.
In terms of his fantasy impact of moving to New York, it shouldn’t shift Vernon’s value in a major way. The Giants have traditionally been a productive landing spot for defensive lineman with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyoria all posting DL1 season for the G-Men in recent memory, and a newly installed Vernon opposite of a re-signed JPP is a now one of the more dangerous tandems in the league. While Vernon’s second half stats were huge, his production the first half of last season left much to be desired. In seven games, Vernon had just 11 tackles and two sacks, while averaging less than a 0.5 grade. Still, he is in his athletic prime, and if he can produce the way he did the second half of last season, he remains a viable fringe DL1 in IDP leagues.