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Defensive end Olivier Vernon is one of the Cleveland Browns’ most notable free agents, and given their issues on that side of the ball, you’d assume they want to make him a priority.
But based on general manager Andrew Berry’s comments … well, it seems sort of iffy.
“I had a good conversation with OV actually just yesterday,” Berry told reporters. “I am heartbroken for him because he did play so well down the stretch and then did not get a chance to enjoy the playoffs with us at Pittsburgh and at Kansas City.”
Berry was then asked about Vernon’s free agency.
“You want to retain as many good players as possible. In some situations, it ends up being the right fit, and in other situations, it does not,” Berry said. “At the same time, that is something that we have the next several weeks to work through. We really do our best to maintain transparency and communication with all of the guys who have contracts expiring. We will continue to do that and work through those as more of the economic unknowns become known as we get into February and March.”
He’s not necessarily being cryptic as free agency is always one big unknown. But it also doesn’t exactly make it sound like a Vernon return is a sure thing.
The Browns are coming off their best season since returning in 1999, advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. But it’s still very clear they need all the defensive help they can get. Losing Vernon would be a lousy start.