Good morning, New York Giants fans! The biggest story around the Giants for the time being is the status of free-agent-to be defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the Giants intend to use the franchise tag to keep Pierre-Paul for the 2015 season.
ESPN's Dan Graziano reported Friday that the Giants and Pierre-Paul's representatives have not yet met to discuss a long-term deal, a fairly stunning -- and telling -- revelation with the March 2 franchise tag deadline and the March 10 beginning of free agency not that far away.
The only inference that can be made from that is that the organization has decided to use the franchise tag, at a cost of around $15 million with a cap now estimated to be at least $143 million, and thus is not in a rush to negotiate a long-term deal. That doesn't mean they don't want to, just that there seems to be no urgency.
Valentine's View: From here, the franchise tag seems like the smartest option for the Giants when it comes to Pierre-Paul. Five years into his career it remains impossible to accurately assess exactly what Pierre-Paul is, other than to say he is the team's best hope to have a dominant pass rusher in their front seven. In five seasons, Pierre-Paul has had one great year (2011) and one good year (2014). In between, he had two sub-par, injury-plagued seasons and underwent back surgery. He has never had quality seasons in back-to-back years.
The Giants right now have no clear way of replacing what Pierre-Paul, at his best, can do. Thus, they need to have him in 2015. They also still can't be sure what they have, and appear justifiably hesitant to hand him a rich, long-term deal. Thus, the franchise tag looks like the right move.
More Contract News
Graziano also reported that the Giants are trying to bring back cornerback Walter Thurmond and defensive tackle Mike Patterson, and that offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo received a contract extension through the 2016 season. The biggest surprise of any of those would be the apparent interest in retaining Patterson, a 10-year veteran who will be 32 next season. At best, Patterson is a rotational player who can only be relied upon for a limited number of snaps. Patterson had a -12.6 Pro Football Focus grade in 429 snaps last season, including -8.7 vs. the run.
If you haven't been following our 2015 NFL Scouting Combine coverage then you have been missing a lot of good material. 'Rap' listed 'risers and fallers' following Friday's tight end and offensive line workouts. Florida defensive end Dante Fowler also did an entertaining interview.
Today we will have coverage of the on-field workouts by running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers. GM Jerry Reese will also speak to the media at 10 p.m. ET.