The Cleveland Browns have traded for pass rusher Olivier Vernon by swapping him for Kevin Zeitler and exchanging fourth round picks.
In breaking news, the rumors of Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey in heavy talks with the New York Giants were correct, but they did not land Odell Beckham Jr. as was rumored to be the case and setting Browns Twitter ablaze.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported around 11:30am EST that the Browns had traded for Giants linebacker and pass rusher Olivier Vernon in order to add power to their offensive line. Five minutes later his NFL colleague Ian Rapoport added that Cleveland gave up starting right guard Kevin Zeitler in the deal; Garafolo continued to add that the Giants and Browns also swapped fourth round picks.
After drafting Austin Corbett in the second round in last year’s draft, the Cleveland coaching staff must feel confident that he is ready to take over a starting role to ship off a high caliber guard such as Zeitler in this deal as he was one of the highest ranked pass blockers in the entire NFL in 2018.
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On the other hand, bookending Vernon with Myles Garrett is an extremely enticing idea. At only the age of 28, Vernon has proven to have the ability to get after opposing quarterbacks when he is healthy.
Over his seven year career, Vernon has recorded a total of 51 sacks, averaging over seven sacks per season over the last three years with the Giants. In addition, Vernon has gotten home to the quarterback an additional 130 times in his career, adding a tremendous amount of pressure to opposing offenses.
This move is a win for the Browns if and only if they feel that second year guard Corbett is 100% ready. If he shows that he is ready, then the Browns added a high quality pass rusher while swapping out a starter for a starter along their offensive line. If Corbett is not ready and struggles in 2018, then Dorsey will be hearing different thoughts from the surrounding media.
Vernon carries a cap hit of $15.25 million in 2018 and Cleveland will be responsible for that cost. The Browns see a relief of $10 million in cap space by trading Zeitler, only losing $5.25 million in cap space with this deal; the team eats no dead money on this deal.
A warm welcome to Cleveland for Vernon as the Browns will continue to overhaul their defensive line. Best of luck to Zeitler in the Big Apple.