Browns wish Kevin Zeitler happy birthday, then trade him to Giants for Olivier Vernon

Nearly three years to the day after signing him to a significant free agent contract, the New York Giants are trading defensive end Olivier Vernon.

NFL Network and ESPN are reporting that the Giants are sending Vernon to the Cleveland Browns.

Vernon for Zeitler

The trade includes a swap of players: the Browns will acquire Vernon while the Giants will receive offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, as well as a swap of trade picks - New York is sending a fourth-round pick (132nd overall), and Cleveland is sending a fifth-rounder (155th overall).

It’s a smart deal for the Giants, who certainly need offensive line help; Eli Manning was sacked 47 times last season.

Vernon was a big signing in 2016

A third-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2012, Vernon was one of the big catches of the 2016 free agent cycle. He agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal with the Giants that included $52.5 million in guaranteed money.

He started all 16 games in 2016 but missed nine games over the last two seasons with ankle injuries.

The Browns now have someone to pair with Myles Garrett to potentially form a formidable pass-rushing duo.

Related: See other players who may soon be on the move: 

Notable 2019 NFL free agents
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Notable 2019 NFL free agents

Le'Veon Bell, running back

2018 team: Pittsburgh Steelers

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Demarcus Lawrence, defensive end

2018 team: Dallas Cowboys

(Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jadeveon Clowney, linebacker

2018 team: Houston Texans

(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Earl Thomas, defensive back

2018 team: Seattle Seahawks

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Trey Flowers, defensive end

2018 team: New England Patriots

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Tevin Coleman, running back

2018 team: Atlanta Falcons

(Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)

Dee Ford, outside linebacker

2018 team: Kansas City Chiefs

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

Nick Foles, quarterback

2018 team: Philadelphia Eagles

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Mark Ingram, running back

2018 team: New Orleans Saints

(Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ndamukong Suh, nose tackle

2018 team: Los Angeles Rams

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Golden Tate, wide receiver

2018 team: Philadelphia Eagles

(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2018, file photo, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) runs with the ball after making a reception in the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles. The injured Packers receiver says that there is a pretty good chance that he’ll play on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after missing a few weeks with a lingering hamstring injury. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit, File)
TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 16: Jay Ajayi #26 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on September 16, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Adrian Peterson, running back

2018 team: Washington Redskins

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Chris Hogan, wide receiver

2018 team: New England Patriots

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver

2018 team: Houston Texans

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, safety

2018 team: Washington Redskins

(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tyler Eifert, tight end

2018 team: Cincinnati Bengals

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jason McCourty, cornerback

2018 team: New England Patriots

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Tyrod Taylor, quarterback

2018 team: Cleveland Browns

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback

2018 team: New Orleans Saints

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Stephen Gostkowski, kicker

2018 team: New England Patriots

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Terrell Suggs, linebacker

2018 team: Baltimore Ravens

(Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)


Zeitler traded on birthday

Earlier Friday morning, the Browns’ Twitter feed sent out birthday wishes to Zeitler, who is celebrating his 29th.

In 2017, the Browns made Zeitler the highest-paid guard in the league, signing him away from the Cincinnati Bengals with a five-year, $60 million contract.

Zeitler has started every game over the last four seasons.

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