New York Giants Make Moves on Offensive and Defensive Lines


The New York Giants made a pair of moves on Monday that will help shape the offensive and defensive lines for the 2015 season. On the defensive end, they franchise tagged Jason Pierre-Paul, and on the offensive end, they cut center, J.D. Walton, saving them $3.625 million in cap space.

With the deadline to franchise tag players approaching at 4 p.m. on March 2nd, the Giants decided to use their tag on the 26-year-old, Pierre-Paul, who finished 8th in the league with 12.5 sacks. Pierre-Paul was looking to get a multi-year contract in the same price range as Robert Quinn of the Rams, as reported by ESPN. With the Giants tagging him, there is a possibility that this move can backfire, causing Pierre-Paul to become frustrated with the organization not offering him a multi-year deal. The Giants can still offer him a long term deal by July 15th, but there are concerns to committing to Pierre-Paul after having injury-riddled 2012 and 13 seasons.

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If they fail to work out a deal, then Pierre-Paul would make $14.8 million this season. He would also be an eligible free agent next season, where the Giants could franchise tag him again, but would be subject to paying him close to 18 million for that season. The news does not come as a surprise as he is one of their best free agents along with Antrel Rolle, who at the age of 32, is less of a priority for the Giants to spend a franchise tag on.

The move is one that the Giants had to make. He is a force on their line, something the Giants have been known for during their Superbowl years. There were rumors that if the Giants let him go, then defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, would be a target for them in free agency. Even with the tag on Pierre-Paul, there is still a chance to go all-in and sign Suh, although they will probably stay away because of the amount of cap space he would require. Regardless, keeping Pierre-Paul around for one more year gives them enough time to decide if he is worth keeping for the long-term and give Tom Coughlin a bonafide pass-rusher for the time being.

Walton was another not so surprising move by the Giants. Despite starting all 16 games last year, he was not the Giants first choice. A Geoff Schwartz preseason toe injury and Chris Snee‘s retirement forced him into the starting center role. While Walton started at center, their second round draft pick of last season, Weston Richburg, ended up playing left guard. Originally a center, Richburg performed well enough as a rookie for the Giants to consider starting him at center this season. At the combine, Tom Coughlin said he is a center and would be “given every opportunity” to compete for the open spot.

It’s another good move by the Giants to get Richburg back to his natural spot and take over the offensive line unit. They drafted him to be their future center, so they might as well give him the job in his second year and see if he can hold onto it.

Next: Was Jason Pierre-Paul the best player in New York last year?

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