Jason Pierre-Paul

East Rumors: Williams, Patriots, JPP, Jets

Trent Williams has encountered a patella issue, one that caused him to briefly exit Monday night’s Redskins-Chiefs game. The Pro Bowl left tackle will not need surgery to correct the problem, but Williams is “week-to-week,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Washington has not ruled Williams out for its Week 6 game, per Rapoport. The eighth-year tackle underwent an MRI on Wednesday, and the exam ruled out a long-term injury. A near-future absence would obviously cause issues for the team. Swing tackle Ty Nsekhe is out after undergoing core muscle surgery, so the drop-off if Williams can’t go against the 49ers could be significant.

Here’s the latest from the Eastern divisions, shifting to New England.

  • Rob Gronkowski extended his streak of seasons without 16-game participation to six by missing Thursday night’s Patriots-Buccaneers tilt with a thigh injury, but the Pats expect their all-world tight end back by Week 6, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The same goes for Rex Burkhead, per Schefter. Burkhead hasn’t played since Week 2, but the team is expecting its newly acquired dual-threat back to be available against the Jets next weekend.
  • Missing Thursday’s game will deprive Gronkowski of collecting the $10.75MM salary the Patriots set as his ceiling on the now-incentive-laden 2017 arrangement. By failing to play in 90 percent of the Pats’ snaps this season, Gronk is in danger of falling to the $8.75MM tier of his contract, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald notes (on Twitter). The 28-year-old tight end could still rise back to that top tier, but he’d have to earn first-team All-Pro honors. That’s obviously still in play for Gronkowski, a three-time All-Pro, but he will have to make it through most of the Pats’ remaining regular-season games to be strongly considered for such acclaim. He will need to play on 80 percent of New England’s snaps this season or total 1,000 receiving yards or 12 touchdowns to earn $8.75MM. The salary drops to $6.75MM if Gronkowski can’t meet one of those benchmarks.
  • A sprained shoulder has put Jason Pierre-Paul‘s Week 5 availability in question, but the Giants defensive end said this issue is not new for him. He intends to play against the Chargers, Howie Kussoy of the New York Post reports. JPP said he’s been dealing with shoulder problem for “a while.” Both Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon missed Thursday’s practice, and with Vernon leaving early with an ankle injury the past two weeks, Big Blue’s other starting defensive end is in danger of missing his first NFL game in a six-season career.
  • The Jets could be down nickel cornerback Juston Burris on Sunday after the No. 3 corner hurt his foot in practice, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. With fellow reserve corner Darryl Roberts unlikely to play in Cleveland, the Jets could be scrambling here if Burris can’t go. New York, though, still has veteran Marcus Williams in the event the younger talents can’t play behind Morris Claiborne or Buster Skrine. A former steady contributor on whom the Jets placed a second-round RFA tender, Williams has not played a defensive snap this season. Both Burris and Roberts have played 90.

East Rumors: Amendola, Jets, Giants, Landry

The Patriots‘ addition of Brandin Cooks would seem to further diminish Danny Amendola‘s role in New England, but the team kept him on the roster despite his impending $6MM base salary and $7.791MM cap number for 2017. New England will reduce that salary if Amendola comes back for ’17, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, but the team is open to the possibility of the veteran returning at a lower rate. The 31-year-old wideout failed to surpass 250 yards receiving for the second time in his Patriots tenure last season, but Reiss notes the door seems open for a fifth Amendola Patriots year if he’s willing to work for less money. Amendola’s five-year deal runs through 2017, and the former Rams target accepted paycuts the past two offseasons. He made $1.25MM in base salary in each campaign.

Here’s more from the Eastern divisions.

  • UFA defensive end Howard Jones plans to make a few other visits before making a decision next week, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv (on Twitter). The team Jones visited Friday, the Jets, are still in the mix, Vacchiano notes. Beginning the year as an ERFA whom the Buccaneers did not offer a tender, Jones finished with five sacks in 2015 but none last season. He would profile as an outside linebacker in Gang Green’s 3-4 scheme. PFR’s Dallas Robinson ranked the third-year player as one of the 15 best edge defenders still available in free agency.
  • The Jets aren’t in a hurry to land their presumptive 2017 starting quarterback, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. The team could bring in Jay Cutler for a visit after meeting with Josh McCown this weekend, but the quarterback market in somewhat of a holding pattern — and few teams competing with the Jets for Cutler — could well point to a Cutler trek to the Big Apple for a meeting. Gang Green reached out to the soon-to-be 34-year-old passer earlier this week.
  • The Dolphins are expected to give Jarvis Landry a “sizable” extension this offseason, James Walker of ESPN writes. This was the expectation last season, but the Fins now have Kenny Stills back on an $8MM-AAV deal. Landry has been the better player over the course of his career and would stand to earn more than that. Doug Baldwin and Tavon Austin reset the slot receiver market last summer, agreeing to extensions that paid them $11.5MM and $10.5MM per year, respectively. Landry will enter his age-24 season on the heels of back-to-back 1,100-yard slates.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul‘s Giants extension will count $7.5MM against the cap in 2017, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. JPP’s deal created more than $9MM in cap space for 2017, since the eighth-year defensive end would have been attached to a $16.9MM figure due to being franchise-tagged for the second time. As of Sunday, Big Blue has $12.7MM in cap space remaining.
  • Eli Manning has three years remaining on his latest Giants contract, but Raanan does not anticipate the team targeting his successor in this draft. Although Raanan could envision a mid- or late-round pick coming to New York as a developmental candidate, the Giants will likely target the 36-year-old Manning’s heir apparent in a future draft. Jerry Reese said in January the team has started to look for their next quarterback, but the team having signed Geno Smith and agreeing to re-sign Josh Johnson may have assembled the Giants’ QB depth chart for this season.

Giants, Jason Pierre-Paul Agree To Deal

The Giants and star pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul have agreed to terms on a four-year deal, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The new deal should give the Giants some extra breathing room against the salary cap for 2017. His agent has since confirmed the deal via social media."<strong

Pierre-Paul will receive about $17MM/year on the deal and he’ll get $54MM guaranteed, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The deal has a base value of $62MM and can reach up to $66MM through incentives, Rapoport tweets. Rapoport also hears that the deal has $40MM guaranteed, so there is some disparity between the two reports.

[RELATED: Giants To Sign QB Geno Smith]

JPP was slated to be on the books for $16.934MM in 2017, per the terms of the franchise tender. The two sides technically had until July 15 to work out a new contract, but the Giants were eager to get something done sooner so that they could add players in the second wave of free agency. In theory, the Pierre-Paul extension could allow the Giants to retain free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. Hankins has found a much softer market than he expected and the G-Men might be able to afford him now.

Pierre-Paul played in 12 games before being shut down in December with a core muscle injury. All in all, he had seven sacks and three forced fumbles. Pierre-Paul also ranked 13th among Pro Football Focus’ 109 qualified edge defenders and totaled the league’s 15th-most QB hurries (24).

The veteran did not want to receive the franchise tag this year, but the Giants were unwilling to let him test the open market. Last year, the inflated market for defensive ends led to the Giants giving Olivier Vernon a five-year, $85.5MM deal with $52MM in guarantees. Pierre-Paul is three years older than Vernon, but the bidding still would have gotten out of hand for him. Today, the Giants agreed to give JPP a deal for roughly the same average annual value with potentially equal guaranteed money on a per year basis. We’ll have to wait for additional details before fairly grading the deals against each other.

For his career, JPP has 50 sacks and eleven forced fumbles to his credit. He should add even more to that total as he remains with the Giants for his prime years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants, JPP Won’t Do Extension Today

The Giants and Jason Pierre-Paul could still hammer out a cap-smoothing extension, but it won’t happen today, according to Seth Walder of the Daily NewsJason Pierre-Paul

The deadline for a new deal isn’t until July 15th, so there’s still plenty of time. However, the Giants would probably like to clear out that space today so that they can do a little extra work on the free agent market.

As it stands, JPP is slated to be on the books for $16.934MM in 2017. Given that they have already added a decent-sized contract in Brandon Marshall, the Giants don’t have very much space to work with. No one expected the G-Men to go on a shopping spree like they did one year ago, but multiple holes still need to be addressed on both sides of the ball. Right now, it looks like they’ll focus more on the draft to get those upgrades.

Pierre-Paul played in 12 games before his 2016 ended in December on account of core muscle surgery, though he showed well with seven sacks and three forced fumbles. Pierre-Paul also ranked 13th among Pro Football Focus’ 109 qualified edge defenders and totaled the league’s 15th-most QB hurries (24).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Gruden

Had the Giants let Jason Pierre-Paul hit free agency instead of franchise-tagging him for the second time, the Cowboys were prepared to intervene. Dallas was going to attempt to pry JPP away from the Giants if he were available, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports. While fitting Pierre-Paul’s high-end salary demands would have been difficult for a Cowboys team that as of now has the least cap room in the league at $3.3MM, Jerry Jones wants to upgrade his team’s pass-rushing corps.

A source informed Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the Cowboys are seeking help at pass-rusher and wide receiver this offseason. An interest at wideout seems interesting given that the Cowboys stand to return their top three pass-catchers from 2016, with only Terrance Williams being a free agent, and the team having shifted to a run-based offense. Dallas plans to try and retain Williams, but only at a certain price, per Hill. If the sides can’t work something out, the Cowboys will target a receiver in free agency or the draft.

We can’t come up empty. We have somebody meaningful there. They are part of our core strategy. But it’s two [positions]. It’s not nine,” Jones said, without identifying those positions. “And I think we have the cap room and whatever we resolve with Tony [Romo], I feel confident we will not lose on those two.”

Here’s more from the NFC East.
  • The Giants have made an effort to keep Johnathan Hankins, but he’s likely going to test the market, Vacchiano reports, adding that the defensive tackle will almost certainly leave the Giants if he reaches free agency. Vacchiano notes the feeling around the league is Hankins is not quite on Damon Harrison‘s level, but his age (25 in three weeks) should help him secure a deal in Harrison range. Vacchiano estimates Hankins will fetch a deal that pays him around $7MM or $8MM per year. The Giants have just more than $14MM in cap space after spending to fortify their defense last season. Their defensive line contains per-year payments of $17MM (Olivier Vernon) and $9.25MM (Harrison), and coupled with Pierre-Paul’s $16.9MM price tag, it’s unlikely Big Blue can afford to keep Hankins.
  • Despite that lofty price for tagging JPP again, the Giants would be OK with the eighth-year defensive end playing the season on the tag. Vacchiano notes. The sides remain far apart in talks. The Giants want to keep as much of their defense together for a Super Bowl run during the final three years of Eli Manning‘s contract, Vacchiano writes, but would be hamstrung by Pierre-Paul’s 2017 salary if it’s unable to be reduced via extension.
  • The Giants are likely to cut or reduce the salary of linebacker J.T. Thomas, Vacchiano writes. Signed to three-year, $10MM deal in 2015, Thomas missed 15 games last season after starting 11 in his first Giants slate. A Thomas cut would create $3MM in cap room while saddling the Giants with a $1MM dead money charge.
  • Jay Gruden‘s two-year Redskins extension came together quickly after an impromptu meeting at the Combine, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports. Team president Bruce Allen and Gruden’s agent, Bob LaMonte, met in Indianapolis and agreed to tack two more years on top of the two that remain on his initial Washington deal. La Canfora notes how this will help counter some of the concerns about GM Scot McCloughan‘s status with the team.
  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jonathan Casillas received small performance-escalator bonuses, per Vacchiano. The fourth-year Giants corner and third-year linebacker will each receive $500K bonuses in their 2017 salaries. DRC will make $6.98MM in base salary, while Casillas will earn $2.75MM.

Giants Not In Running For Adrian Peterson?

The Giants have been heavily connected to Adrian Peterson ever since his option was officially declined by the Vikings. It turns out, they might not be a player for No. 28. The Giants aren’t in the running for Peterson, according to multiple sources who spoke with Jordan Raanan of ESPN.comAdrian Peterson

Last year, the Giants went on a free agent spending spree that saw them add three high-priced players to the defense. This time around, it could be a much quieter March. In addition to Peterson being unlikely, Raanan hears the Giants are not expected to go after a high-end left tackle, guard, middle linebacker, or wide receiver. All of those positions are needs for the G-Men, but they won’t be satisfied with the best players at each spot.

This spring might not be as exciting as the last one, but the Giants are still willing to loosen up the purse strings to lock down their own top free agents. They are working hard to re-sign defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and to extend Jason Pierre-Paul after his franchise tag. There have also “been talks” about new deals for free agents like linebacker Keenan Robinson, guard John Jerry, backup quarterback Josh Johnson, and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, Raanan writes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 NFL Franchise Tag Players

The deadline to designate franchise or transition players for 2017 has passed. Here’s the rundown of the players that were tagged, plus the candidates that did not receive the designation:

Franchise players (exclusive):

Franchise players (non-exclusive):

*second tag; players receive raise over designated salary for position tender

Candidates who didn’t receive tags:

Giants, JPP Far Apart In Contract Talks

The Giants have been working to re-sign franchise-tagged defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, but the two sides are “nowhere near a deal,’’ agent Doug Hendrickson told Paul Schwartz of the New York Post on Monday. As a result, the Giants had to tag Pierre-Paul to keep him from hitting the open market March 9, and Schwartz expects the decision to “infuriate” the seven-year veteran.

Jason Pierre-Paul

While Pierre-Paul will rake in $16.955MM via the tag in 2017 if he and the Giants don’t agree to a long-term deal by the July deadline, he likely expected to end up with a similar annual value on a multiyear contract in free agency. Pierre-Paul would’ve been one of the most accomplished defenders available, having tallied 50 sacks and 11 forced fumbles to this stage, and proven pass rushers command premium prices on the open market. Exhibit A: The five-year, $85.5MM deal featuring $52MM in guarantees that the Giants handed Olivier Vernon a year ago.

Even though Pierre-Paul, 28, is both two years older and far less durable than Vernon, he had been targeting a similar payday as of late January. When asked Monday if that’s still the case, Hendrickson said, “I don’t want to get into that.” He also lamented the fact that Pierre-Paul won’t get to measure his worth in free agency.

“He’s earned the right to see what’s out there,” opined Hendrickson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Franchise Tag Jason Pierre-Paul

The Giants will apply the non-exclusive franchise tag to Jason Pierre-Paul, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter). Unless the two sides work out a new deal between now and July, JPP will play out 2017 on a one-year, $16.955MM contract. The transaction was not formally processed before the end of business on Monday, but the Giants have informed him of their decision. Jason Pierre-Paul

[RELATED: Former Giants OL Geoff Schwartz Announces Retirement]

The G-Men will work “aggressively” to lock Pierre-Paul up beyond 2017, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. The Giants have about $31.5MM in cap space before factoring in the tag and they can preserve a good chunk of that by smoothing out JPP’s cap hit on a multi-year deal. Ideally, the Giants would like to retain their defensive core, which means brand new deals for JPP and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Had JPP reached the open market, he would have stood as one of the best free agent edge defenders in this year’s class. Now that he and Jones have been franchise tagged and Melvin Ingram probably isn’t far behind, Packers standout Nick Perry probably has to be considered the best of the bunch. Perry, 27 in April, will be heavily targeted by 3-4 teams looking to boost their pass rush.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

[RELATED: Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense]

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Chandler Jones
  2. Melvin Ingram
  3. Jason Pierre-Paul
  4. Nick Perry
  5. Jabaal Sheard
  6. James Harrison
  7. John Simon
  8. DeMarcus Ware
  9. Lorenzo Alexander
  10. Andre Branch
  11. Julius Peppers
  12. Charles Johnson
  13. Datone Jones
  14. Mario Addison
  15. Dwight Freeney

The Cardinals have already made it abundantly clear that Chandler Jones will see the franchise tag this offseason, and Melvin Ingram and Jason Pierre-Paul are also candidates to be tagged by the Chargers and Giants, respectively. If the latter two are able to hit the open market unfettered, however, they both figure to break the bank. Ingram, Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 edge defender, could be a fit for both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, while JPP will be looking for a long-term commitment after signing consecutive one-year deals.Chandler Jones (vertical)

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among the players with youth still on their side, Packers edge defenders Nick Perry and Datone Jones figure to interest different clubs, as Perry is a better match for a 3-4 defense while Jones needs to restart his career as a 4-3 defensive end. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. James Harrison and Charles Johnson, meanwhile, look like good bets to return to Steelers and Panthers, respectively, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Kawann Short
  2. Calais Campbell
  3. Johnathan Hankins
  4. Brandon Williams
  5. Dontari Poe
  6. Chris Baker
  7. Bennie Logan
  8. Nick Fairley
  9. Alan Branch
  10. Jared Odrick
  11. Karl Klug
  12. Terrell McClain
  13. Lawrence Guy
  14. Earl Mitchell
  15. Stacy McGee

Unlike the edge defender market, the 2017 cadre of interior defensive lineman shouldn’t be overly affected by the franchise tender. Head coach Ron Rivera recently confessed the Panthers will “probably” have to use the tag on Kawann Short, but the rest of the defensive tackles listed here should be able to hit the open market. Of the remaining defenders, Campbell is the best overall player, but given that he’s entering his age-31 season, he may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Earl Mitchell), and run stoppers (Karl Klug, Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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