THURSDAY, 2:50pm: The Giants have officially signed Vernon, the team announced today in a press release.
WEDNESDAY, 4:17pm: Vernon’s deal will pay him $85MM over five years with $52MM in guaranteed cash, per Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter). That sum includes a whopping full guarantee of $40MM. Overall, it is the biggest deal ever for a defensive end, putting him ahead of Texans superstar J.J. Watt.
4:04pm: The Giants will sign Olivier Vernon, per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter). In terms of compensation, this will be the biggest defensive end deal in NFL history with the most guaranteed money, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
It’s a big day for the Big Blue defensive line as they have now landed both Vernon and Damon Harrison. Those moves, coupled with retaining Jason Pierre-Paul have bolstered their defensive front in a major way. Prior to the Vernon deal, the Giants were believed to have roughly $47MM in cap space.
As Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter) notes, the Giants had to outbid the Jaguars by a wide margin in order to secure Vernon’s services because there is no state income tax in Florida and the cost of living in the greater New York area is skyhigh. Ultimately, they ponied up the cash to get the deal done.
Ranked No. 1 on PFR’s list of free agents going into the 2016 league year, the 25-year-old Vernon was a highly-coveted commodity. After the Dolphins opted to sign Mario Williams to join an already high-paid defensive front that features Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh, it was clear that Miami would not be retaining him. The Giants and Jaguars both emerged as leading candidates to sign Vernon, but it was the G-Men who came away with (arguably) the offseason’s top free agent. Clearly, the Giants are determined to give defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo the best tools they possibly can, having also added cornerback Janoris Jenkins on Wednesday.
Vernon ranked third overall behind only Khalil Mack and Von Miller among edge defenders last season, according to Pro Football Focus, after amassing 7.5 sacks and 61 tackles. The former third-round pick has 29 career sacks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.