The New York Giants used the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul on Monday, designating him a non-exclusive player on the market and will allow the team to continue negotiating and this comes as players like Antrel Rolle and Walter Thurmond are hitting the market for NY and names like Ndamukong Suh, Bryan Bulaga, Devin McCourty, Byron Maxwell, Jordan Cameron and Shane Vereen could be potential free agent targets.
The Giants were expected to use the franchise tag on Pierre-Paul this offseason and now they have time to negotiate a long term deal with the defensive end. According to ESPN.com, the Giants used the non-exclusive franchise tag JPP and while that means other teams can sign him, it also means they would have to give up two first round picks to do so. Sources report to ESPN that JPP and the Giants will continue to work on a long term contract through the offseason.
Pierre-Paul and the Giants have until July to strike a long term deal and if that doesn't happen, it's likely he will sign the tender, although he could hold out. Pierre-Paul is 26-years-old and is coming off of a strong season after two disappointing years. The Giants have other options on the market if JPP leaves, but now that he has been hit with the tag, it's likely he stays.
JPP had 12.5 sacks last season after putting up just eight in the previous two seasons while dealing with injuries and inconsistent play. The Giants are expected to have about $25 million in cap space this offseason before tagging JPP, as they have released JD Walton and Mathias Kiwanuka already and could also cut Jon Beason. The Giants also may extend Eli Manning's contract, as that could free up more cap space, according to Dan Graziano.
Graziano at ESPN.com also writes that the team is comfortable if Pierre-Paul ends up signing the tender and not a long term deal. The franchise tag for this season is just under $15 million and that is about what he would get in a long term deal anyway. This gives the Giants some security, as they can see if Pierre-Paul keeps up his strong play after bouncing back in 2014. While they still would have to pay Pierre-Paul big bucks down the line if he has a great season, the difference likely wouldn't be much if it came a year earlier.
The Giants may not spend big in free agency -although some have suggested they could go after Ndamukong Suh-but they have some money to spend now after cutting Mathias Kiwanuka and JD Walton. The team will have money tied up in JPP, but that was expected and now names like Jordan Cameron, Byron Maxwell, Devin McCourty and Bryan Bulaga could be options. The team needs depth on the offensive line, while McCourty could be a target if the team allows Antrel Rolle to leave.
The Giants went 6-10 last season and finished 30th in rushing yards per game and that is one of the main reasons why Suh has been connected to the team. The Giants also may look at running backs on the market, as Rashad Jennings was injured for part of the season and that put immense pressure on Andre Williams as a rookie.