In the wake of Jason Pierre-Paul‘s fireworks accident, the Giants had been expected to place their standout defensive end on the non-football injury list until he gets healthy. However, the team can’t make that move until JPP is under contract, and that isn’t the case for now. According to Ed Werder of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Pierre-Paul doesn’t intend to sign his franchise tender until he’s confident that he can pass a physical, which would prevent the team from placing him on the NFI list.
The move isn’t a surprising one, since it gives Pierre-Paul and his camp some control over the process, rather than handing the reins over to the Giants. In his examination of the situation yesterday, Jason Fitzgerald of The Sporting News observed that JPP would likely hold out until the last possible moment. After all, if he were to sign his franchise tender tomorrow, the Giants would be able to place him on the non-football injury list for the start of the season, ensuring he’d miss at least six weeks and wouldn’t be paid during his absence.
On the other hand, if he waits until after the regular season gets underway to sign the tender, JPP will miss out on game checks, but he’d have the opportunity to return prior to that six-week mark. Franchised players have until after Week 10 to sign their tenders — if they haven’t signed by then, they’re not eligible to play in the NFL for that season.
Of course, this game of tug-of-war between Pierre-Paul and the Giants depends significantly on what the 26-year-old’s recovery timetable will look like. If it turns out he’ll have a chance to be ready by the time the regular season begins, New York may not even need or want to place him on the NFI list. On the other hand, if his recovery extends well into the regular season, the Giants could ultimately decide to rescind the franchise tender, recognizing that JPP won’t contribute much this year and likely won’t be re-signed.
In other words, we’re still in wait-and-see mode when it comes to Pierre-Paul’s health and his contract. However, both sides have certain cards they can play to gain leverage in the situation. As Fitzgerald noted in his piece linked above, a prolonged holdout could fracture the relationship between JPP and the Giants, but for now it seems like the best possible approach for the defensive end.