What is Olivier Vernon’s future with the Cleveland Browns past 2020?

Cleveland Browns (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns top-paid player in 2020 will be Olivier Vernon. His contract will be up after the 2020 season. His future in Cleveland past 2020 though maybe in doubt.

As the Cleveland Browns roster seems set heading into the 2020 training camp, general manager Andrew Berry will begin to evaluate which players with expiring contracts will deserve extensions. 31 players currently under contract have only one year left on their contracts. Among these is defensive end Olivier Vernon, who is slotted to make a base salary of a little over $15 million in 2020.

At the end of his contract, Vernon will have made more than his fair share of money in the NFL. Spotrac has his career earnings after 2020 to be almost $89 million. Entering his ninth season, that’s not bad at all for the former third-round pick for the Miami Dolphins.

Vernon should be preparing to take a pay cut though, especially if he wants to stay in Cleveland. His $15 million price tag is too much for his current play. A great player when on the field, Vernon has struggled to stay healthy. His last full season of 16 games was in 2016, his first season with the Giants.

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Vernon played well last season, but his statistics dropped pretty low. His sacks, tackles for loss, and quarterback hits were the lowest in his career since his rookie year. Vernon only racked up 26 tackles, which was the lowest of his career. Subsequently, his 10 games played was also the worst of his career. Statistics aren’t everything, and they can be misleading in Vernon’s case. However, you can’t look entirely past this dilemma when getting ready to pay him seven digits.

The Browns are going to have to pay Myles Garrett soon, and he is going to take Vernon’s spot as the highest-paid Browns player once he signs his extension. If Vernon stays in Cleveland past 2020, it’s going to have to be on a serious pay cut. It seems unlikely he will renegotiating the final year of his deal, considering he has most of the leverage.

If the Browns end up cutting him, then they have a serious need to fill at defensive end and there’s only one player on the market who could fill the hole as a starting quality defensive end, and he is going to be worth significantly more money than Vernon. Sorry to burst many fan’s bubbles, but Jadeveon Clowney signing in Cleveland does not make sense.

After 2020, Vernon’s tenure in Cleveland is likely over. Some team will pay him serious money for what he can bring if he plays all 16 games. The Browns will likely look to the draft for a cheaper alternative to pair with Garrett, and they could even look to address this need in the first round.

If the Browns aren’t active in free agency in 2021, then they could also wind up with a nice compensatory pick from letting Vernon walk. Picking up an extra third-round compensatory pick would be extremely beneficial to a Browns team full of young studs who will need to be paid soon.

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Vernon will be free to chase his 100 millionth dollar in the NFL. Their separation is NOT, and I can not stress enough, because of Vernon not being talented enough. It is just going to be in both party’s best interest to separate.