Cleveland Browns and Olivier Vernon have agreed to a contract restructure
This restructure assures that Vernon will be with the team this season.
Vernon who previously due to make $15.25 million (non-guaranteed) will now make a total of $11 million guaranteed in 2020 with an additional $2 million of incentives.
The total consists of a $7 million signing bonus and a $3.75 million base salary. Additionally, Vernon will also make a $250K workout bonus totaling the $11 million.
The $2 million of incentives is still unclear but will likely be based on sack production. This deal also guarantees Vernon will be a free agent next offseason with a “no franchise tag” clause. Vernon had a slow start but really came on before a knee injury that would slow him down the rest of the season.
With Vernon cemented to the team, look for the Browns to end the pursuit of Jadeveon Clowney. While Clowney would have been a nice addition, it was clear he didn’t truly want to be in Cleveland after reports the team was already the highest offer and he hadn’t signed. This move will free up another $10 million in cap space for the Browns in 2020.
With more cap space what are the Browns setting up to do if they move on from Clowney? Look for a massive extension to come next with defensive end Myles Garrett. The cap space will allow the Browns to front-load the contract like Jack Conklin and keep the Browns flexible moving forward.
Don’t be shocked if the Garrett number is north of $35 million in year one because the space is available. The Browns are comfortable that Garrett will continue to perform and don’t even want to give him a chance to start listening to offers.
This is a great scenario for the Browns and another tremendous move by general manager Andrew Berry. He has continued to bring in loads of talent and has managed to keep the salary cap in check.
If Vernon is able to stay healthy in 2020, look for this to be the best move of the offseason.