The Cleveland Browns undoubtedly had a disappointing season in 2019 after finishing with a dismal 6-10 record. For the first time in years, the Browns actually had lofty expectations prior to the 2019 season.
Last offseason, Cleveland made a blockbuster trade to acquire Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants. When the team landed Beckham, most people began to preemptively list the Browns as a legitimate contender in the AFC.
Along with the Beckham trade, Cleveland also named Freddie Kitchens as their next head coach for 2019. But contrary to the expectations, the Browns crumbled under the added pressure of being a team with a target on their back.
Just a year later, Kitchens is no longer with the team and the Browns are starting from scratch once again. Since the end of the season, Cleveland has already hired Kevin Stefanski as their next head coach and Andrew Berry as their next general manager.
With the offseason steadily approaching, the Browns are projected to have $50 million in cap space for 2020. Similarly to most businesses, the Browns understand that you can never have enough money to spend.
Given that, Cleveland is likely going to increase their cap space in a variety of ways—including cutting players. Among the players that they could release, here is one player that could be a surprising roster cut for the Browns this offseason.
When the Browns acquired Beckham from the Giants, Olivier Vernon was also involved in the trade. Vernon was a third-round pick for the Miami Dolphins in the 2012 NFL Draft.
In his first four seasons with the Dolphins, Vernon accumulated 29 sacks, 43 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles. But after four years in Miami, the Miami native signed with the Giants in free agency in 2016.
The talented defensive end signed a lucrative five-year, $85 million contract to play in New York. However, his time in New York was cut short after he was traded to the Browns in 2019.
Over the course of his first season in Cleveland, Vernon tied his career-low of 3.5 sacks. Additionally, Vernon only managed to have four tackles for loss and one forced fumble in 2019.
As the Browns prepare for the offseason, Vernon is set to make $15.5 million in 2020. Surprisingly enough, of all of the talented players on the roster, Vernon holds the largest cap hit for Cleveland next season.
Given that information, the Browns could choose to move on from Vernon after just one year with the organization. In the event that Cleveland releases him, they could create $15.5 million in cap space. On top of that, the Browns wouldn’t suffer a dead-cap penalty if they released Vernon.
The Browns un-mistakenly have a handful of decisions to make in the upcoming offseason. Among them, Cleveland could decide to make Vernon a cap casualty after just one season with the franchise.