Last year, Jason Pierre-Paul agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Giants, a prove-it type deal to see if he can bounce back to his former self after the fireworks incident that severely damaged his hand.
JPP returned with a vengeance, playing in 12 games and recorded seven sacks before a sports hernia ended his season. Before the surgery, Jason Pierre-Paul looked like the JPP of old, causing havoc on opposing offensive lineman and causing fear to quarterbacks with his presence on the line. After playing in eight games during the 2015 season and adjusting to the hand injury, he got a glove that was shaped for his hand and learned how to play with the injury and once he did, he seemed to get back in the rhythm.
The Giants realized just how valuable he is on the line. Especially having him paired with Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison in the middle of the line, the Giants defensive line and their pass rush were a force again. This is why on Monday, the Giants placed the franchise tag on JPP, one that if he signs, pays him $17 million for the 2017 season.
Now, of course, JPP doesn’t want to play for a one-year deal and wants to sign a long-term deal; something he wanted before the fireworks accident and something he was likely to get, possibly from the Giants.
If he hadn’t been tagged, there would have been several teams; maybe even the Dallas Cowboys, waiting with open arms and even more open wallets for his services; and why the Giants knew that had to place the franchise tag on him.
With it placed on him for the second time in his career, it gives the Giants more time to negotiate the long-term deal he wants. After everything he’s been through over the last two years, JPP worked his way back into being a top-level defensive end and has done so with a mild disability with the hand.
In 2016, JPP showed that even with his hand the way it is, he still has the God-given talent and freakish ability on the football field and talent that should be well compensated; again, something the Giants know and witnessed first hand.
Before the injury, the Giants defense was a top-tier defense and even when he went down for the season, they stayed that way, but JPP’s presence at times was missed. Romeo Okwara did his best to try and make up for JPP’s lost presence on the field, but players and pass rushers like JPP are hard to replace.
So now that the Giants have placed the franchise tag on him, it gives them several months of negotiating time; JPP is looking for the kind of deal Vernon got; the Giants probably would like to pay a little less, but they know that a long-term deal is going to cost them. But it’s also why the shed the contracts of Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings earlier in the off-season.
At the end of the 2016 season, many felt that the Giants were just a few steps away from being a Super Bowl contender and a legitimate team to come out of the NFC next season. Keeping JPP in the fold and on the defense only enhances their ability to contend in the 2017 season.
Whether the Giants gets Jason Pierre-Paul signed to a five-year deal or keep him at the one-year franchise tag deal, the Giants were very wise either way to keep JPP off the market and get him back to East Rutherford for next season.