2. Trading Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon
In what was a highly controversial trade, Dave Gettleman sent elite wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and pass rusher Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for safety Jabril Peppers, former Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zeitler, the 17th overall selection in the 2019 draft and the third round pick of the Browns. This was following a statement by Gettleman that he had not signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a big deal just to trade him.
While the Giants decided to move on from one of the most talented receivers in the game, something that is not easily replaced, they were able to add much needed talent to their roster while shedding salary from what had become the worst cap situation in the NFL.
Ultimately, the move would allow the team to add Peppers to replace Landon Collins, who had departed in free agency. As previously mentioned, Peppers was a better fit for a fraction of the cost. New York also bolstered their offensive line with Zeitler, which caused Pro Football Performance to rank the guard combination of he and Will Hernandez as one of the best in the league. They also added much needed talent on defense by selecting Dexter Lawrence and Oshane Ximines with the draft picks they received from Cleveland.
While the contracts of Zeitler and Peppers amounted to just under $28 million, it was a far cry from the combined $103.5 million in salary that Cleveland inherited by acquiring Beckham Jr. and Vernon. The move helped remove the Giants from a precarious position in regards to future cap space, allowing them to open up what is projected to be approximately $64 million in cap space in 2020.
So far, the players the Giants have received as a result of the deal have far and away out performed those the Browns received. Given their hefty salaries, OBJ and Vernon have been major disappointments for Cleveland so far. Beckham has just one touchdown on the year, while hauling in 48 receptions for 649 yards. Vernon meanwhile has 23 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.
Until this past week, Peppers actually had as many touchdowns as Beckham Jr. following his interception for a touchdown versus Washington earlier in the season. In addition, he has 71 tackles, three forced fumbles, and five pass deflections. Lawrence has a stat line of 26 tackles, two and a half sacks, one forced fumble and has consistently pressured opposing quarterbacks. Ximines has 20 tackles, two sacks and a pass deflection this year. Zeitler, while he hasn’t played up to his Pro Bowl abilities, has a solid overall grade of 71.1 from PFF on the season, while committing only two penalties so far.
Given the number of holes that Gettleman was able to fill by trading Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon, the amount of cap space that they were able to clear and the productivity of the players New York received versus the disappointing numbers that Beckham Jr. and Vernon have contributed this season, this trade has to be viewed as a monster win for Gettleman and the Giants so far.