New York Giants Should Franchise Tag Jason Pierre-Paul


The New York Giants have an important offseason on the horizon, as the team is in a transformation once again. Last season it was the offense that saw an overhaul, and this season the defense is looking at the same kind of changes. There are plenty of personnel decisions to be made regarding players, with Jason Pierre-Paul heading the list. With him being a free agent, he is eligible to have the franchise tag placed upon him. That is something the Giants should put to use, as Pierre-Paul should be designated as their franchise player this offseason.

Being slapped with the franchise tag is something that NFL players used to be proud of having. It meant that the team viewed you as an important part of their success, and they would do whatever it meant to keep you around. More recently it has lost that luster, as teams just slap it on disgruntled players, forcing them to stay another season in a place they sometimes prefer not to be in.

It was also a tool teams could use to secure exclusive negotiating rights with a player. Once you have a franchise tag placed on you, you are off the market. You will receive a one-year deal worth the average of the top-five paid players at your designated position. A long-term contract can still be worked out, which is why the Giants should use it on Pierre-Paul.

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The franchise tag this season could potentially be $15 million, a hefty sum to be paid but worthwhile for the Giants. Pierre-Paul has show that he can be an elite pass rusher, having 12.5 sacks last season and 16.5 in 2011. That also is where the problem lies, as Pierre-Paul has only 13 sacks in the other three seasons combined.

Part of that was taking on an expanded role in the defense. With players such as Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora moving on, and Mathias Kiwanuka impact declining, Pierre-Paul became the focal point of the Giants’ defensive attack and opposing offenses knew that. They would do whatever it would take to neutralize Pierre-Paul.

The increased attention being paid to him played a part in the decrease of statistics, but Pierre-Paul has also struggled with his health at times. He has played all 16 games in four of his five seasons in the NFL, but he seems to always be battling some type of nicks and bruises. In 2013 he missed five games, the only ones he has missed in his career, and put up career-low stats across the board.

So the question remains for Pierre-Paul if he can put together consecutive strong seasons. It took Pierre-Paul three seasons to get back over double-digit sacks, and that cannot happen if they give him the big contract extension he is hoping to land. The Giants need to be convinced that they will not have to wait multiple seasons in between double-digit sack seasons again from Pierre-Paul before committing long term to him.

His continued growth in the run game will also help Pierre-Paul’s case. Pierre-Paul was as strong against the run in 2014 as he has been at any point in his career. He sometimes still struggles with containment, which seems to be a theme amongst Giant defensive ends, but he definitely made strides.

That kind of improvement, coupled with better consistency and less injury woes, would give Pierre-Paul the long-term commitment he is looking for. He will more than likely be disappointed to recieve the franchise tag this offseason, but it is the best move for the Giants. They will have a It gives them another season of having Pierre-Paul in the fold, and will keep him from hitting the open market where they will face stiff competition for Pierre-Paul’s services and be forced to hand out a big contract they aren’t yet comfortable in doing.

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