Matt Dunham/Associated Press
Despite having been tagged as the Miami Dolphins’ transition player, defensive end Olivier Vernon could still be in the picture if the Giants’ other options start to dry up.
The transition tag, for those unaware of the difference between it and the franchise tag, simply means that the Dolphins would have the right to match any offer sheet that Vernon signs with another team.
If they match it, he reverts back to Miami. If not, the offer sheet becomes a contract with the new team, which would owe zero compensation to the Dolphins.
As noted on Inside Football, the challenge in signing a transition player is a scenario where the original team comes through with an 11th-hour offer that thwarts the would-be signing team’s efforts to secure the player. This could leave the latter in a position where other choices might have been snapped up by other teams.
Thus if the Giants intend to pursue Vernon, they probably will wait until they have at least one of their other free-agent targets on board so that they are not left with nothing in the event that Miami decides to match any offer sheets.
With all that said, Vernon appears to offer the most complete package in terms of run-stopping and the pass rush.
In 2015, he topped Pro Football Focus’ 10-man list of 4-3 defensive ends who took at least 75 percent of their team’s run-defense snaps, finishing with a 9.2 run stop percentage and 35 stops.
Out of 14 eligible pass-rushers meeting the same play-time percentage criterion, Vernon ranked second in pass-rushing productivity, behind Seattle’s Michael Bennett, with a 12.9 PRP score.
When you consider that Vernon is only going to be 26 years old this year, those are three things you can check off your must-haves for a defensive end: age, pass-rushing productivity and run-defense ability.