With the salary cap spiking and the Giants having millions to spend and G.M. Jerry Reese under a clear mandate to make the team better, the planets lined up perfectly for defensive end Olivier Vernon.
The best available pass rusher in a free-agency class that lacks any high-end, double-digit sackmasters, Vernon was in the right place at the right time to get paid.
By all indications, Vernon’s deal compares favorably to Texans defensive end J.J. Watt’s contract. (The true story will be told when the real numbers are released; for now, the piranha pack looking to placate producers and editors will pass along whatever they get without regard to ultimate accuracy.) But few would otherwise confuse Vernon for Watt, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year.
Watt is a dominant force. Vernon is a solid player who had 7.5 sacks in his contract year. The Dolphins surely knew the eventual lay of the land at defensive end during the 2015 regular season, and yet they made no effort to lock Vernon up for something far less than what he has gotten.
They didn’t, which allowed Vernon and agent David Canter to be on the receiving end of a spending spree orchestrated by a General Manager who had better spend what he has while he still has the ability to spend it. If Reese doesn’t use his resources to improve the team in any way he can now, Reese may not be in position to spend even more money in 2017.