How Olivier Vernon is still a free agent is a wonder to me. This means maybe he doesn’t really want to play anymore. Or possibly he just wants too much money and is waiting for injuries to take a toll on the season and some team reaches out to him and begs him to come play for them.
In 2020 with the Browns, Vernon had 9 sacks, his highest since the 2013 season. Vernon also had 12 tackles for loss, his highest since the 2016 season. He also played in 14 games and this, again, was his highest since 2016. Vernon hasn’t played a full year since that 2016 season but has appeared in double-digit games every season of his career. And he is only 30 years old.
The key here isn’t that Vernon would need to come in and be “the guy” to chase down quarterbacks for the Seahawks, Seattle already has Jamal Adams, Carlos Dunlap and others who can do that. Vernon just needs to come in and be a rotational player. This should keep him fresh as well. So signing Vernon would be good for team and player.
The key thing is that Vernon can play both the run and the pass. According to Pro Football Focus, Vernon was a top-35 edge rusher against the pass and run (he was actually better against the run) in 2020 and ranked 20th overall for edge rushers (Smith was 49th). My question to the Seahawks would be, Why did you sign Smith at all when you could have had Vernon?