Jeff Darlington of NFL Media reports that the Jaguars are “very much in play” for Dolphins DE Olivier Vernon and could sign him to a front-load contract that would make it extremely difficult for Miami to match.
Jacksonville still has plenty of cap space to work with, even after they reached an agreement with DL Malik Jackson on a massive six-year, $90 million contract.
Of course, the Jaguars are no strangers to front-loaded deals for transition players, as they did this with Browns C Alex Mack a few years ago.
Jason Cole of B/R reports that the word around the NFL right now is that the Jaguars could still pursue Dolphins DE Olivier Vernon and one of the top cornerbacks or safeties available in this year’s market.
Cole previously reported that the Dolphins may decide to pull their transition tag from Vernon, as hey wouldn’t receive a compensatory pick for him in 2017 if he signed with another team.
The transition tag will run the Dolphins $12.734 million for the 2016 and gives them the ability to match any offer Vernon signs on the open market.
Vernon has been linked to a number of teams including the Giants, Raiders, Jaguars, Browns and Titans.
Vernon, 25, played out the final year of his four-year, $2,818,080 rookie contract and is one of the best available defensive ends in a relatively limited pool of pass rushers.
In 2015, Vernon appeared in 15 games and recorded 55 tackles and seven sacks for the Dolphins. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 1 defensive end in a 4-3 system out of 51 qualifying players.
We have Vernon featured in our Top 100 – 2016 Free Agents list.