The New York Giants made several big splashes on the free agent market on Wednesday when they signed defensive tackle Damon Harrison to a five-year, $46 million deal ($24 million guaranteed), cornerback Janoris Jenkins to a five-year $62.5 million deal, and re-signed defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a one-year deal. The biggest move of the day for the G-men, however, was the five-year, $85 million deal given to former Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon. The deal pays Vernon $52 million in guaranteed money and makes him the highest-paid defensive end in the NFL.
This Vernon deal is the biggest for a DE in all categories: most overall gtd, most full gtd, highest average, payouts in years 1-3.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 9, 2016
Clearly, the Giants felt that they needed to make some big time moves in order strengthen their defense and give new head coach Ben McAdoo a core of players to rely on. The additions of Harrison, Vernon, and the re-signing of JPP give the New York Giants a lethal pass rush while the signing of Janoris Jenkins gives New York a solid and young lockdown corner as contract talks with the team’s current top corner and UFA, Prince Amukamara, have stalled.
Olivier Vernon was just recently given the transition from the Dolphins, meaning that Miami had the right to match any offer he was given by another team. Almost immediately, Vernon got a contract offer that not only the Dolphins could not match, but he got THE biggest deal for a defensive end in the entire NFL. Olivier Vernon’s contract surpasses the contract of Houston’s J.J. Watt (6 years, $100 mil, only $30 mil guaranteed), which before Wednesday, was the largest contract for a defensive end in the NFL.
The contract J.J. Watt signed less than 1 year ago averages $16,666,667. If those numbers are on, Olivier Vernon just passed him at $17M APY
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 9, 2016
Vernon ended the 2015 season with 7.5 sacks in addition to 61 tackles, and his production only increased after Cameron Wake was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. The addition of Olivier Vernon to the New York Giants will give them two lethal pass rushing defensive ends with him and JPP while the addition of Janoris Jenkins will give the Giants a solid base to build around in their secondary.
Right now, the biggest winners of 2016 NFL free agency appear to be the New York Giants on the defensive side of the ball, and the Houston Texans on offense with the additions of Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller. The Dolphins may have been able to acquire Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso from the Philadelphia Eagles, but the losses of Vernon, Miller, and CB Brent Grimes are not going to be easy to replace. The Eagles and Dolphins may be the biggest losers of 2016 NFL free agency thus far.
Information from Pro-Football-Reference was used in this report.