Olivier Vernon named as Cleveland Browns potential salary cap cut

General manager John Dorsey burned through salary cap dollars at a record pace and now the new staff might have to make some cuts, with Olivier Vernon being a possible casualty due to his pay

Last season, John Dorsey spent money as if the Cleveland Browns were about to make a Super Bowl run. He was already paying a premium contract to Jarvis Landry and still added Odell Beckham, Jr. to the receiving corps.

He then forked out a lot of cash for Sheldon Richardson in free agency to bulk up their defensive line. In addition to that move, he added Olivier Vernon in a trade with the New York Giants, giving them two contracts in $15 million range on the defensive line — with Myles Garrett there as well, who is on a rookie contract but being a No. 1 overall pick means he’s not getting paid peanuts either.

Dorsey’s lack of concern for the cap was a problem in Kansas City where he was fired in 2017 before joining the Browns. He did the same thing in Cleveland and is now without a job after just two seasons with them.

While he’s gone, the contracts he added to the payroll are not. And now, new general manager Andrew Berry is getting to work and in his introductory press conference, he seemed to hint at trying to free up more space when he stated he wanted to be in a position to “aggressively acquire talent.” — via Zac Jackson of The Athletic

That could lead to some of the players added by Dorsey being gone quickly. And according to Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report, Olivier Vernon seems to be the most likely player to be released in a cap-savings move.

“Vernon is set to make $15.5 million in 2020 with none of it guaranteed. He was acquired by the former regime and was a bit underwhelming in his first season with the Browns. Injuries limited him to 10 games, and he finished with just 26 tackles and 3.5 sacks.” — Knox, Bleacher Report

Saying Vernon was underwhelming isn’t completely accurate. He played well when he was on the field, even if his sack numbers don’t illustrate that. Vernon was good against the run and he did generate plenty of pressure.

The real issue was his durability. Vernon missed six games, as Knox pointed out, and that’s been a problem for him in the past. While he didn’t miss any games during his four-years with the Miami Dolphins, Vernon ended up missing nine in his final two seasons with the New York Giants.

In 2017, he missed four games and then it was another five in 2018. That means he has missed at least a quarter of the season in each of the past three years. It’s never fun to point out a player’s durability concerns, but the fact is teams will take that into account when deciding the future of their roster.

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Pair Vernon’s missed games with his high price tag and it would make sense to see the Browns consider moving on.