FEBRUARY 23, 7:57am: Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link) confirms that the Giants do indeed plan to use their franchise tag on Pierre-Paul if no long-term deal is reached by the March 2 deadline.
FEBRUARY 17, 9:18am: If the Giants intend to use the franchise tag on Pierre-Paul, that hasn’t yet been conveyed to him or his camp, tweets Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.
8:53am: Jason Pierre-Paul would be one of the top free agents available on March 10 if he were allowed to reach the open market, but it appears as if the Giants will make every effort to ensure that if Pierre-Paul is still unsigned when free agency opens, he’ll come at an exorbitant cost for any rival suitors. According to Steve Serby of the New York Post, the Giants are planning to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on JPP before the March 2 deadline.
As we explain in our glossary entry on the franchise and transition tags, the non-exclusive tag still allows a player to negotiate with other teams, and gives his previous team a few days to match any offer sheet he signs with another club. In JPP’s case, if the Giants assigned the non-exclusive tag and then chose not to match an offer sheet, the club would receive two first-round picks as compensation for losing the standout edge defender.
Based on Serby’s report, it sounds like the Giants still prefer working out a longer-term deal with Pierre-Paul, so wielding the franchise tag in advance of the March 2 deadline could also serve as a negotiating tool — it’s possible the two sides come to an agreement before that date, though if they don’t, they could still work something out in the coming weeks or months.
According to Serby, New York would like to lock up JPP to a deal that pays him something like $11MM or $12MM annually, which would be a step down from a one-year franchise salary that figures to fall between $14-15MM. If and when the Giants extend that one-year franchise tender offer to the former first-round pick, he would be free to accept it immediately — barring a long-term agreement, that would lock him into that franchise salary for 2015 and would not allow the team to withdraw the offer.
Although Pierre-Paul got off to a slow start in 2014, he finished strong, and his 77 tackles and 12.5 sacks were his best totals since he was a First-Team All-Pro in 2011. The South Florida product – who turns 26 at the end of the month – ranked as the seventh-best 4-3 defensive end in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades (subscription required).