There may yet be no overt hostility between the Giants and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. But the feelings currently are far from warm and fuzzy.
Per multiple league sources, Pierre-Paul specifically declined to see trainer Ronnie Barnes and former Giants linebacker Jessie Armstead (pictured). As one source explained it, they traveled to Miami without first contacting Pierre-Paul or otherwise determining that Pierre-Paul would see them.
Listed as a “Special Assistant” on the team’s official website, Armstead has become a liaison between the organization and the players. He specifically has a strong relationship with Pierre-Paul.
That relationship wasn’t strong enough to prompt Pierre-Paul to invite Armstead to the hospital for a visit.
The fact that the team sent Barnes with Armstead (and not coach Tom Coughlin or G.M. Jerry Reese) suggests that the trip primarily was aimed at learning more about the injuries Pierre-Paul suffered. From Pierre-Paul’s perspective, there’s currently no reason to cooperate with that effort.
If Pierre-Paul signs the one-year, $14.8 million franchise tender, the Giants control the situation completely. They can put him on the non-football injury list at the outset of training camp, and then they can keep him there at the start of the regular season, causing Pierre-Paul to miss at least six regular-season games.
At this point, it would be a major surprise if Pierre-Paul signs the tender before he’s cleared to play. If the Giants are willing to guarantee the full amount of the one-year salary regardless of his placement on NFI, that could persuade him to accept the tag.
The Giants can rescind the tender, and that’s still what Pierre-Paul would prefer. He’d become a free agent, able to sign a contract with any team.
Pierre-Paul’s lingering preference to no longer be tagged suggests that his injuries aren’t serious, and that he’ll be able to play at some point this year, perhaps earlier than later. The current concern, per multiple sources, is nerve damage that is believed to be short term in nature.