3 free agents Washington must call after Chase Young injury
By Jerry Trotta
2. Olivier Vernon
It’s pretty stunning to come to terms with the fact that Olivier Vernon, a Pro Bowler as recently as 2018 with the Giants, is currently out of the league. That can largely be attributed to the torn Achilles he suffered in Week 17 of last season, which gave the Browns no other choice but to bypass re-signing him.
Seeing that injury took place nearly 12 months ago, Vernon should be close to, if not fully back, to full strength. Assuming he hasn’t suffered a setback, Washington should be on the phone with his representatives this week.
Injuries limited Vernon to 24 of a possible 32 games during his two-year stint in Cleveland. When he was on the field, though, he produced in spades, racking up 12.5 sacks, including nine in 14 games last season, 27 QB hits, 16 tackles for loss, 86 pressures (!) and a combined 73.6 pass rush grade from PFF.
See what we’re saying? While Vernon might not be the game-wrecker he was pre-Achilles surgery, if he’s still 75-80% of the player he was before the injury, Washington would be getting a massive steal 10 weeks into the year.
At 31 years old, Vernon would step into an immediate leadership role in a DE room that lacks experience. We’re not saying he’d fix all of Washington’s problems, but they’d be hard-pressed to find a better option on the open market.