AP source: Browns restructure DE Olivier Vernon's contract
By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Olivier Vernon’s status with the Browns has more certainty. So does his paycheck.
The defensive end, whose future in Cleveland seemed in doubt for months, has renegotiated his contract for next season, a person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Vernon’s days with the Browns seemed numbered as he was going to make $15.25 million — a non-guaranteed deal that was the largest current one-year contract on Cleveland’s roster — as long as he was around after training camp.
But the club reworked his deal and Vernon will earn $11 million, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not publicly disclosing the agreement.
ESPN was first to report Vernon will get a $7 million signing bonus, $3.75 million base salary, $250,000 workout bonus and $2 million in incentives.
The 29-year-old Vernon joined the Browns last season after coming over from the New York Giants in the blockbuster trade that brought wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland.
Vernon started slowly last season, and was just finding his rhythm when he injured his knee in a Week 9 loss at Denver. He finished with 3 1/2 sacks in 10 games, hardly what the Browns envisioned with him playing on the opposite side of star end Myles Garrett, who could be poised to get a major extension soon.
There was speculation the Browns would trade Vernon this offseason as they’ve reportedly been pursuing free agent Jadeveon Clowney, who remains on the market and has already rejected an offer from Cleveland. But it appears Vernon will be back with a defensive front that has been upgraded with the offseason additions of Adrian Clayborn and Andrew Billings.
Following the draft, Browns first-year general manager Andrew Berry said the team was pleased with Vernon.
“Olivier is a good football player, and we like having good football players on the roster,” Berry said at the conclusion of the draft in April. “He is a talented defensive end. He is here and will continue to be here.”
Vernon has been slowed by injuries in recent seasons. He was inactive for the Giants first five games in 2018 because of an ankle injury. He missed four games in 2017 with a bad ankle.
Vernon was a second-team All-Pro in 2016, his first season with New York after four in Miami.
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