Feb 072015
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul’s Contract Voided: The New York Daily News is reporting that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s rookie contract was voided on Friday. This expected move means Pierre-Paul will become an unrestricted free agent in March unless the Giants protect him with a Transition or Franchise tag. The Daily News is reporting that the expected Franchise tag number for defensive ends is expected to be approximately $15 million.

Other clubs are allowed to begin negotiating with free agents on March 7 and teams can officially sign another team’s free agents on March 10. Teams can designate Transition or Franchise players any time between February 16 and March 2.

“We would certainly like (Pierre-Paul) back, but it would have to be at the right price, something that makes sense for us,” said Giants President and CEO John Mara on December 30. “He certainly had a great finish to the season and showed the type of player that he can be and that he will be going forward. I would be very surprised if he was not a Giant next year.”

Pierre-Paul just turned 26 last month and his best football could still be in front of him. But he has had difficulty recapturing his tremendous productivity from his sophomore NFL season in 2011 when he accrued 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. Those numbers plummeted to 66 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2012 and 27 tackles and 2 sacks in 2013.

Pierre-Paul had surgery in June 2013 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and he never seemed to fully rebound from that procedure during the 2013 season. He flashed some of his old form in Week 10 that year but also suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the last five games of the season.

In his fifth year in 2014, Pierre-Paul had his second-best season, starting all 16 games and finishing with 77 tackles, 12.5 sacks, six pass defenses, and three forced fumbles. Pierre-Paul played the run well most of the year and finished up strong as a pass rusher after a slow start, with nine of his sacks coming in the last five games of the season.

Much more was hoped for and expected in 2014, but JPP remains the one player in the front seven that other teams need to account for. If he leaves, the Giants will have a major hole to fill on a defense already pot-marked with holes. But bringing him back is not a no-brainer. There is a salary cap and JPP clearly believes he is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL and wants to be paid like it. The Giants know Pierre-Paul has had inconsistent productivity the last three years, as well as back surgery and shoulder issues.

“I think at the beginning of the season he wasn’t playing like he played at the end of the season,” said General Manager Jerry Reese on December 30. “The second half of the season, he came on really strong and played like we thought he should play. The guy has some ability to be a game changer. We didn’t see enough of that in the first half of the season.”

Towards the end of the 2014 season, Pierre-Paul’s comments to the press seemed to strongly suggest he will not be giving the Giants a hometown discount and that he is interested in testing the free agent waters.

“I don’t know (if I will be back with the Giants),” said Pierre-Paul in late December. “Everybody asks me that question and I really can’t answer that question truthfully. I don’t know what my future holds. Who knows if I am going to be in a Giant uniform, who knows where I am going to be in the offseason. Like I said, now, the numbers are there, I had a great season, and everybody sees it. There really is nothing else to say, just negotiations and it is coming.

“At the end of the day, it’s business, it’s business. Everyone knows that, even the fans know that, my family members know it, and I am going to make the best decision to better me and my family.

“I‘d love to be a Giant for the rest of my career, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t always fold like that. Look at Justin Tuck, look at Osi Umenyiora, look at Brandon Jacobs, it doesn’t matter. I think I am worth a lot of money.

“Like I said, it is going to be a business situation, it’s going to be about my family, and what I want to pursue,” replied Pierre-Paul. “At the end of the day, I’m here. Like I said earlier in the season, if I am a Giant, then I will be a Giant for my whole life. I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

Articles on Former New York Giants Co-Owner Ann Mara:

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Rashad Jennings’ offseason training rundown by NFL.com

Article on the New York Giants Special Teams: Who was the Giants’ best special teams player in 2014? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

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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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