New York Giants edge defender Olivier Vernon has been awarded an unlikely spot at the 2019 Pro Bowl on the back of a punishing season with the team.
The New York Giants linebacker makes the cut as a replacement for the Chicago Bears Khalil Mack, who registered 12.5 sacks, defended four passes, forced six fumbles and returned one interception for a touchdown.
Vernon meanwhile led the Giants with seven sacks having missed the opening five games with an ankle injury, sustained in preseason. He also finished with 30 combined tackles, one forced fumble and one pass defended amid what proved a disappointing year on defense for the Giants as a unit.
It will mark first appearance for Olivier Vernon at the annual all-star game following his seventh season in the NFL and third with Big Blue.
Vernon faces an uncertain future in East Rutherford in light of his injury problems and his projected cap hit of $39 million over the next two years. Having failed to offer much in the way of a feared pass rush, the Giants now face questions on defense alongside their ongoing bid to rebuild their offensive line.
Deciding on how best to dedicate funds to priority areas will undoubtedly entail an assessment of Vernon’s value moving forward.
Pat Shurmur’s men will be relatively well-represented in Florida later this month, despite finishing bottom of the NFC East with a 5-11 record. Vernon will be joined by kicker Aldrick Rosas after he made 28 out of 29 field goal attempts in an inspired response to a tough 2017 campaign with the team.
There is also a place for rookie running back Saquon Barkley following his exceptional return of 1307 rushing yards for 11 touchdowns and 721 receiving yards for four touchdowns.
Safety Landon Collins was also initially included, but has since been ruled out due to shoulder surgery. The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, Jan. 27th at Camping World Stadium in Orlando with kickoff at 3:00 p.m. (ET)