Despite rumors of the team wanting to move on from the veteran pass-rusher, the Browns are not releasing Vernon “right now,” NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported.
Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com previously reported earlier this offseason that the Browns would “probably be looking to replace” defensive end Olivier Vernon, who was part of a blockbuster trade last season that sent offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler to the Giants.
Vernon Has Concerning Injury History
Vernon spent much of last year dealing with injuries and didn’t make the impact that was expected, especially for the price tag he carries. Vernon — who made the Pro Bowl two seasons ago — is due to make $15.5 million next season.
Vernon had 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits last season. He’s missed 15 games over the past three years.
Whoever the Browns bring in to play opposite of Myles Garrett—who was recently reinstated from an indefinite suspension—has to be viewed as a capable threat to keep offenses from just rolling coverage towards Garrett’s side. Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods told reporters he’d be open to adding more pass-rushers to the fold.
“It never hurts,” Woods said. “We can keep adding as many as they want. I’m cool with that. I think the goal is to add as many talented players to your roster as you can – the right people. We want the right people, good people here that will be good for the organization, good for the team and do it the right way. If they want to add more rushers or more corners, I’m all for it.”
Woods also said that he plans run primarily a 4-3 in Cleveland.
“I think you want to make sure that you’re putting the guys that you have in the right position to make plays,” Woods said. “I know the personnel here is tailored toward a 4-3 scheme, which I’m very comfortable with. We’ll stay with the 4-3 system here and focus on putting the guys in the right positions to make plays.”
Browns Have Already Moved on From Key Defensive Pieces
Schobert landed in Jacksonville on a five-year contract with $22.5 million guaranteed. The deal is worth a total of $53.75 million.
Schobert made 133 tackles last season, leading the Browns. He also snagged four interceptions and collected a pair of sacks. It was his third season in a row with triple-digit tackles, totaling 104 in 2018 and 144 during a Pro Bowl campaign in 2017.
Kirksey inked a two-year, $16 million contract with Green Bay. When healthy, Kirksey was a high-producing talent. He had 138 tackles in 2017 and 148 the year prior to that. He had 484 tackles, 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions during his time with the Browns.
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