There were a lot of shocked people when they saw the kind of money Olivier Vernon got from the Giants as a free agent Wednesday. The question was whether the Raiders were among the team vying for his services before he signed that deal. His agent told Peter King the Raiders were indeed among the teams to make a play for Vernon.
These inquires came after the word came out that the Dolphins would be lifting the Transition tag from Vernon which would have given the Dolphins the right to match any offer presented.
Also, it came Wednesday morning after the Raiders had agreed to terms with free agent Bruce Irvin the night before. Irvin can rush the passer, but he is a linebacker. Vernon is a defensive end.
King points out that Vernon's contract talks were not a negotiation, but rather an auction for his services to the highest bidder.
For that reason, the Raiders interest didn't last too long. With the official opening to free agency a couple hours away, several teams had dropped out of the bidding war, the Raiders included, leaving just the Jaguars, Giants, and Jets remaining.
With the number Canter was expecting, there was really no way the Raiders were sticking around. Canter had these numbers projected:
- $80 million over 5.
- $45 million guaranteed.
- $45 million first three years.
- $50 million i.o. ("I.O." means how much of the deal would be guaranteed for "injury only.")
In his first four professional seasons with the Dolphins, Vernon made $3.68 million. In his first year with the Giants, he'll make $29 million.
The Giants paid Olivier Vernon the richest contract for a defensive end in NFL history: five years, $85 million, with a bigger guarantee ($52.5 million) than J.J. Watt got two years ago.
He beat his goals in total contract (by $5 million), by total in the first three years (by $9 million) and by total guaranteed (by $7.5 million).
This is very reminiscent of the Raiders early interest in signing Ndamukong Suh last offseason before he signed his jaw dropping deal with the Dolphins. Call it irony or karma or whatever that Suh's presence is what kept the Dolphins from being able to franchise tag Vernon or even consider joining the auction to keep him.
There's a lesson to be learned here.