Vernon is set to make $15.5 million this season. His current deal has two years and $31 million remaining.
If the Giants don't get a deal, they could potentially cut Vernon after finding a replacement in free agency. They are walking a fine line. Landing a comparable player might not be so easy. Despite a strong free-agent crop of pass-rushers, most are expected to remain with their current teams, either by franchise tag or a long-term deal.
Vernon led the Giants last season with 7 sacks and 21 quarterback hits in 11 games. That was more than twice as many quarterback hits as any other player on the team.
Injuries have been Vernon's biggest problem since signing a five-year, $84.75 million deal as the Giants' prized free agent in the 2016 offseason. He has missed nine games the past two seasons with various injuries. He didn't miss a game during his first five years in the league.
The Giants could cut Vernon and save $11.5 against the salary cap, but it would leave a huge void on their defense. They finished last season tied for 30th in the NFL with 30 sacks.
Trading Vernon would also save the Giants $11.5 million against the cap. A trade or release would both leave them with an $8 million dead money cap hit as well.
Vernon, 28, spent the first four years of his career with the Miami Dolphins and has 51 career sacks in 103 games.