Cleveland Browns might be planning to release Olivier Vernon

Cleveland Browns (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images).
Cleveland Browns (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images). /

The Cleveland Plain Dealer was the first to report that the Cleveland Browns are likely to move on from Olivier Vernon who is owed $15.5 million in 2020. He only played in 10 games last season in his first year with the Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have appeared to want to move on from some of the moves made by their former General Manager John Dorsey and that continued with an idea from the Cleveland Plain Dealer who claimed the Cleveland Browns are likely to release defensive end Olivier Vernon.

The Browns acquired Vernon in a trade with the New York Giants in 2019 as Cleveland gave up one of their best offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler for a pass rusher who always had more upside than production.

Vernon had just three and a half sacks in his first season with the Browns as he missed the final six games of the season. Availability has been a problem for Vernon, he has missed multiple games in each of the last three seasons.

His salary in 2020, which is the highest on the team, is also non-guaranteed which means Cleveland can release with almost no consequence and they would save almost $16 million on the cap.

That’s money that can be used to sign other players who are more productive like Joe Schobert and free agents to replace him — such as defensive end Everson Griffen from the Minnesota Vikings who has been linked to Cleveland.

The trade for Vernon has been disappointing considering the offensive line was their biggest weakness this year and Kevin Zeitler definitely could’ve helped that and Vernon wasn’t on the field enough to make a real impact on the season.

This move makes all the sense for the Browns and they would likely bring Vernon back if he was willing to take a pay cut but that doesn’t seem realistic in a league where every team is always looking for people to rush the passer.

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There are some possible veterans in free agency like Griffin or Yanick Ngakoue from the Jacksonville Jaguars who could take Vernon’s place. Chad Thomas and Porter Gustin are young players who are already on the roster and showed promise at the end of last season.