Olivier Vernon trade signals another Giants move is coming

Schefter: Browns upgrade pass rush with DE Vernon (0:49)

Adam Schefter sees positive on both sides of the Giants trade of DE Olivier Vernon to the Browns for RT Kevin Zeitler. (0:49)

Linebacker Olivier Vernon is a goner after the New York Giants agreed to ship him to Cleveland for guard Kevin Zeitler. Safety Landon Collins will be finding a new home in the next week or so, too.

If you were brought in by the Giants under the previous regime -- don't buy, rent instead. There seems to be a strong chance you won't be around long with general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur making the moves. Gettleman continues to be busy reshaping and overhauling his roster. There are only 13 players remaining from their arrival just over a year ago.

And more moves are coming.

The Giants were toeing the line with Vernon. He had a big contract (counting $19.5 million against the salary cap this season) and an injury history in recent years. But he was still the team's best pass-rusher, by a wide margin. The plan, according to a source close to the team, was to move Vernon only if they could find a suitable replacement.

That would indicate something is in the works either via free agency or trade. Vernon is gone, and now we're left to wait for the other shoe to drop.

One intriguing name on the trade market that would fill their desire to replace Vernon with a top pass-rusher is Kansas City's Dee Ford. He is probably a better fit in the Giants' 3-4 defense than the 4-3 defense Steve Spagnuolo is bringing to the Chiefs.

In free agency, there are players such as Baltimore's Za'Darius Smith and Washington's Preston Smith near the top of the list. Za'Darius Smith had 8.5 sacks in 2018 and would be a natural fit with the Giants. Markus Golden, with his familiarity with Giants coordinator James Bettcher's defense, is also a strong possibility.

As currently constituted, the Giants' cupboard is bare. Vernon will officially be traded next week and Connor Barwin was released last month. That leaves Lorenzo Carter, Kareem Martin and Avery Moss as the team's only edge rushers. Carter flashed some promise as a rookie and Martin isn't known for his pass-rushing skills. Moss spent the season on the practice squad.

The Giants can't wait until the draft to address these gaping holes, no matter how strong and deep it is in pass-rushers. They are going to make a significant move either via trade or free agency in the next week or so.

Legal tampering begins on Monday. Teams can officially start signing players at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The trade for Vernon makes sense for both parties. The Browns upgraded on the edge and the Giants added a right guard. Jamon Brown filled in admirably at that spot in the second half of the season, but Zeitler is at a different level.

Zeitler was Pro Football Focus' sixth-ranked guard last season with a grade of 74.5. Brown was 62nd with a grade of 51.7. Zeitler was also their top-ranked pass-blocking guard, the area in which Brown struggled most.

In ESPN's pass-block win rate, a metric powered by NFL Next Gen Stats, Zeitler was at 80 percent and Brown 71 percent. The league average for guards was 78 percent.

This is the latest step in Gettleman's promise to rebuild the offensive line. He has now traded for Zeitler, drafted left guard Will Hernandez in the second round and signed Nate Solder to a then-record deal last offseason.

With Jon Halapio having played well before breaking his leg early last season at center, the pieces are there for this to be a good offensive line blocking for the new centerpiece Saquon Barkley and protecting Eli Manning. All they need now is a right tackle for the puzzle to possibly be complete.

It is the defense that has been left in desperate need of addressing, which it was before a week that saw them subtract two of their best players -- Collins and Vernon. The Giants have only 28 percent of their salary cap allocated toward their defense, according to ESPN Roster Management.

But that will change soon enough. A notable pass-rusher is on the way.