The Cleveland Browns very well could be buyers at the trade deadline, something far different from their past. Cleveland will be looking any route they can to improve the team for a playoff run, as they are 5-2 on the season. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated has noted that defensive end Olivier Vernon is available in trade.
Well, that makes sense for the Browns sense he has not played very well. Vernon has no sacks this season and just 11 tackles. When playing across from the games best defensive end in Myles Garrett, you should be getting home at least a bit. Vernon has just two quarterback hits on the season, a sign that he is not getting close often at all. The defensive end has battled a groin injury this season and has missed two games.
Cleveland is not getting much pass rush at all outside of Garrett and it is not close to fair to expect him to keep up his pace, though he very well could. Cleveland has Adrian Clayborn behind Vernon on the depth chart, another player that has not done a ton with the reps he has been given either. The point is the Browns do not have a reliable pass rusher on the team outside of Garrett.
If Vernon is traded either Clayborn will be moved into that starting role or the team will look for assistance from the outside. Trading Vernon would only be to another team that is competing and needs help up front. It very well could be slim pickings, any team bringing on Vernon would basically be getting a rental. Vernon is paid for the year after restructuring his contract and can not be tagged after the season.
If trading Vernon is what the Browns wish to do, they would want something beneficial back obviously. Getting a younger player who has not quite panned out yet may be worth the movie. Cleveland made a similar move to this by acquiring Ronnie Harrison, except they traded away a late round pick. In the case for Vernon, you take a flyer on the player. If he works out, it is a big reward for a player you were losing at the end of the season anyways. In Cleveland’s best interest they would look for a linebacker, defensive back or another defensive end in any move.
Moving Olivier Vernon makes plenty of sense, especially when the Browns will likely be drafting his replacement next year. The question remains of how much exactly can the team get out of a player who is hardly performing.