On Wednesday The New York Giants officially signed Olivier Vernon to a new five year contract. The contract is supposed to be worth $85 million dollars and of that $52.5 million is guaranteed. It is considered to be the most lucrative contract for a defensive end in NFL history.
“I mean there’s always going to be expectations right?,” Vernon told Rick Laughland of The Giants Beat. “So, you know, when I got my opportunity with the Dolphins staying home in Miami there was always expectations, but I’m the type of person that, you know, I know what work that I have to put in to get where I want to get to and it’s all about having patience and working hard and you know being myself and not have any type of outside influence faze me in any type of way.”
Vernon is coming off a productive season for the Miami Dolphins. He led the team with 61 tackles and 7.5 sacks as a defensive lineman. In order for this signing for the NY Giants to even take place; The Dolphins had put a transition tag on Vernon on March 1. This basically means that teams can talk to the individual player but the team that put the tag can match any other teams offer if their willing to keep them.
“I spoke to JPP a few days ago and I just asked him brief questions about if he liked it, if he enjoyed it over there, man, Vernon told The Giants Beat of his initial impressions of the Giants. “And all he did was just praise the organization and pretty much say how he’s trying to win and get back to being relevant. So I could just tell by how he spoke that he was a man that’s wiling to get there and I’m trying to be a part of that.”
The one year tag on any defensive end was told to be worth $12.73 million. Vernon, who is 25 years old, is a very durable player. He started all 16 games last season and hasn’t missed a game in the last four seasons. According to the analytics site ProFootBallFocus.com, Vernon was ranked to top 4-3 defensive in all of football.
Previously selected the 72nd pick by the Dolphins, he would end up a very consistent starter. He totaled 29 sacks during those four years and in 2013, had a career high 11.5 sacks. Before the draft, Vernon played every of his amateur football career in Miami. He played for the University of Miami fir three seasons and totaled 81 sacks. He also went to American High School, which is also located in Miami Florida. The Giants since the end of last season have been trying to wind ways to shore up their defense. Not only have they just signed Vernon, they also signed another defensive player in Damon Harrison and cornerback in Janoris Jenkins. Altogether, the guaranteed part of everyone’s contracts comes to about $101.5 million all signed in one day. With The Giants finishing the 2015 season with the worst defense in the league, their spending seems justifiable. Vernon, who is still very young, has a great upside to do great things in years to come alongside Jason Pierre-Paul who the Giants are hoping will be healthy this year. Vernon marveled at JPP’s ability to come back last season after a gruesome injury.
“I mean, yeah. That right there, you know … you never want to see anybody, especially at your position, go through that or anybody at all” Vernon told The Giants Beat. “But just seeing his dedication to prove a lot of people wrong about him that’s - I respect that a whole lot and I know that I was in the same situation I’d be doing the same thing so you know I can’t wait to play with the guy.”
While it may be a conversation as to whether he got overpaid or not, it still may very well pay off in the future. With the all the recent signings and the Giants still pursuing to keep Pierre-Paul back, Giants fans may have a reason to be excited again.