Jul 122015

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Jason Pierre-Paul suffered serious injuries to his right hand in a July 4th fireworks accident at his South Florida home. What has been reported is that Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated, pins inserted into his broken right thumb, and a skin graft to his lower right arm. There have also been press reports that there may be additional fractures in other fingers and his right hand.

What is not really known, since Pierre-Paul will not let the Giants’ doctors examine him, is if the injuries to Pierre-Paul are even worse than reported and when (or if) he could possibly return to play football in 2015. A “league source” told The New York Post that Pierre-Paul’s hand could even be more damaged than is known. “What are the chances it did only minimal damage to the thumb or middle finger?” the source asked The Post. “Doctors would tell you it’s more likely he lost his thumb from this than didn’t have any damage or even minimal damage. If he lost his thumb or did significant damage to it, his football career is over.”

The New York Daily News laid out five possible scenarios for Pierre-Paul and the Giants:

  • Pierre-Paul could sign his Franchise tender immediately: This scenario is not likely as it gives the Giants the most control over the situation. The team could then put Pierre-Paul on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) List, where they have the option to pay him or not. If Pierre-Paul is still on the NFI by the start of the season, he must remain on it for the first six games of the season. If Pierre-Paul were to remain on the NFI all season, his contract would be “tolled”, meaning instead of becoming a free agent in 2016, he would remain a Giant under his 2015 tender (1-year, $14.813 million).
  • The Giants could rescind the Franchise tender: A team source has told The Daily News that the Giants have no intention of doing this because if Pierre-Paul cannot play, he will not get paid regardless. Pierre-Paul would become an unrestricted free agent if the Giants rescind the tender and free to sign with any other team. The only advantage to the Giants is it would create an additional $14.813 million in cap space for either 2015 or rolling it over into 2016.
  • Pierre-Paul could wait to sign the Franchise tender until he thinks he will pass the team physical: This is the  scenario that Pierre-Paul’s camp is telling the media he will do. By waiting, Pierre-Paul can prevent the Giants from putting him on the NFI and docking his pay if he believes he will be able to return to the playing field sometime between Week 1 and Week 6 of the regular season. In other words, instead of missing out on all six weeks of his pro-rated $14.813 million salary, he could still still recoup some of those sizable paychecks by only signing the tender when he is physically ready. The downside for the team to this option is the Giants will not have access to Pierre-Paul until he is ready to return and the new defense under Steve Spagnuolo will be completely foreign to him.
  • Pierre-Paul could refuse to sign the Franchise tender and sit out the season: If Pierre-Paul is physically and mentally unable to play in 2015, this might be the best scenario for him. That way he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2016 and the Giants will have to decide whether or not they want to tender him again with the Franchise tag at an even higher rate than $14.813 million.
  • Pierre-Paul and the Giants could negotiate new Franchise tender terms: The Daily News believes this is the most likely scenario. Pierre-Paul could agree to return for one year on a salary lower than $14.813 million in return for the Giants promise not to place Pierre-Paul on the NFI. That way Pierre-Paul could report to training camp, enabling not only for the team’s medical personnel to monitor him but for Pierre-Paul to also learn the new defense.

ProFootballTalk is reporting that “a source with knowledge of the situation” said that Pierre-Paul would report to the Giants by the opener if the Giants agree to pay him his full $14.813 million tender, regardless if he is on the NFI List or not. Such a scenario is likely not very attractive to the team.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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