Defensive Jason Pierre-Paul has no real interest in playing out the year on the franchise tag. If it makes him feel any better, the Giants don’t seem to either.
Via Bob Glauber of Newsday, Giants owner John Mara said their goal was still to get a long-term contract with their pass-rusher.
“I heard him say that, yes, and we’re trying to get a deal done,” Mara said. “We want to get him signed long-term, but we had to do that [tag him] to protect ourselves. Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach an agreement, but I can’t say it’s imminent. . . .
“He’s an important part of our team. He played at a high level last year. He gave us a huge boost. Having him on one side and [Olivier] Vernon on the other gives us a nice pair of bookend pass rushers, so yeah, we’d like to have him back. Plus, he’s a positive influence. He’s a good young man, very popular [in the locker room]. He’s the type of guy you want on your team.”
But as long as he’s sitting there with a $16.934 million cap hit, it’s going to limit their ability to make other moves this offseason. Last year’s free agency period was a blur for the Giants, spending early and often as General Manager Jerry Reese tried to rebuild their defense by signing Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive tackle Damon Harrison.
“We’re obviously not going to be as aggressive as we were,” Mara said. “We just don’t have the salary-cap room, and you can’t do that every year. Putting the franchise tag on Jason takes a lot of our room away, but there’s still enough room for us to do some things if we want.”
That could make them a little more likely to bend when it comes to Pierre-Paul’s contract desires, since the tag leaves something to be desired for both sides.