Olivier Vernon to sign $85 million deal with Giants


Brown, who made 30 of his 32 kicks last season, is eligible to participate in preseason practices and games, but won’t return to the Giants’ active roster until after their tilt with the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11.

“While I do not agree with the suspension, I will accept it,” Brown said in a statement. “I have exhausted the appeals process and have no other options along those lines. I will continue to work hard for this team, and I have tremendous confidence in my teammates and in my ability to move on and contribute to the team.”

Victor Cruz decided to serve up the hot takes to Norman in this latest spat with one of the league’s premier cornerbacks, saying he was surprised the Washington Redskins’ standout didn’t shadow Steelers receiver Antonio Brown for the entire game in the Redskins’ season-opening loss on Monday night.

“Going in I thought he was going to follow A.B. all over the place but he didn’t so it is what it is. He made his choice,” Cruz told the New York Post on Wednesday. “Especially if he calls himself — I don’t call him this, he calls himself — the best corner in the league, then you have to cover the best receivers on the other team.”

This was the situation the Cowboys were hoping to avoid, no? Dak Prescott had a bad game in a big spot and Tony Romo is finally healthy. It would be impossible for the rookie not to be looking over his shoulders but it’s important for Dallas not to create the type of environment where he has to. Prescott still had his moments on Sunday but needs to develop a quicker trigger finger when facing this kind of pressure-oriented defense. The Giants secondary managed to catch up to a lot of his reads before he was able to make the throw.

When Beckham was asked about the game, he credited the defense, noting that Dez Bryant finishing with one catch for 10 yards was the “real story.” But what about his 61-yard touchdown catch? “I just caught a slant. I hit a gear. I looked back — actually I didn’t look back. I just felt somebody running and (Brandon) Carr was chasing me as fast as anyone I’ve ever felt chasing me. I had to hit another gear but it came down a little tight. It was a real race I had to run.”

The contract is a monster. Rapoport reported Vernon’s new deal is worth $85 million over five years with a whopping $52.5 million in guarantees. Vernon tops freshly minted defensive tackle , who got $42 million in guarantees in his deal with the Jaguars.

The Giants won out in a bidding war with those Jaguars for the services of Vernon, who had his transition tag rescinded by the Dolphins earlier Wednesday. Vernon had 7.5 sacks in 16 starts with the Dolphins last season and was ranked by analytics site as the top 4-3 defensive end in football.

A scary — and disheartening — moment for the Bears with a few minutes to go in the fourth quarter. First-round pick Leonard Floyd was carted off the field after lowering his head in attempt to make a tackle on Jennings. The terrifying moment was broken up only because Floyd was almost insisting he did not need any treatment. Before being strapped into the cart, he was moving his arms and legs and acknowledged several teammates on the way off the field. The young core of this Bears defense is just about the only bright spot amid a bleak 2-8 season and Floyd is most certainly in the running for defensive rookie of the year. Here’s hoping his neck injury (officially classified in a press box announcement) is nothing serious.

Giants offensive line coaches and deserve a boatload of credit. This unit has been in complete disrepair for months now, often shuffling two or three replacements into the lineup per game. Center Weston Richburg will likely earn his first Pro Bowl nod this year and has been a fail-safe for a patchwork group of veterans and still-developing youngsters. People enjoy comparing Giants teams to their two most recent Super Bowl rosters and the one constant was always a dependable offensive line. Should this team progress any further, it will be on the strength of their front five.

To be fair to Bradford’s counterparts, the degree of difficulty is much higher versus an athletic, pressuring defense that has allowed 17 or fewer points in seven consecutive games dating back to Week 15 of last season. That trio of former MVPs combined for one touchdown and five interceptions over the past three weeks. Although the Vikings failed to sack Eli Manning Monday night, they entered the game leading the NFL with 15 QB takedowns to go with a stout run defense led by Linval Joseph.

Coach Zimmer has featured strong secondary play going back to his days as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator. Along with Vikings DC George Edwards and secondary coach Jerry Gray, he has developed a physical, rangy defensive backfield that shrinks the field, eliminating intermediate passes between 10 and 20 yards. The unit’s effectiveness has reached a new level since star cornerback Xavier Rhodes returned from a knee injury in Week 3. Against Beckham and Kelvin Benjamin the past two games, Rhodes allowed a total of three catches on seven targets for 23 yards and a 11.9 passer rating, per NFL Research.

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