Could former New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, now in charge of football operations with the Jacksonville Jaguars, be setting himself up to try and pry the Giants’ biggest free agent, Jason Pierre-Paul, away from his old team?
SB Nation’s Jaguars blog, Big Cat Country, believes there is no other way to read the tea leaves:
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been busy in the last week. They’re reportedly sending tight end Julius Thomas to the Miami Dolphins for a late-round draft pick in 2017. Simultaneous to that, they are reportedly bringing left tackle Branden Albert over for a late-round draft pick in 2018. All the while they re-signed Abry Jones, Chad Henne, Arrelious Benn, Tyler Shatley, Josh Wells while releasing Jared Odrick and Kelvin Beachum.
It all looks like a setup to sign their biggest free agent in years — Jason Pierre-Paul — because everything the Jaguars have done so far would support a big splash in free agency, specifically at defensive end.
Odrick, their starting defensive end, is gone. Who’s going to play opposite Yannick Ngakoue? Dante Fowler? Nope. Chris Smith? Doubtful. Tyson Alualu? No. Odrick was never going to be the guy opposite Ngakoue but now their roster definitely doesn’t have the answer. Where else but free agency does this team address that issue?
Putting together the Jaguars’ need at defensive end, Coughlin’s connection to JPP, Jacksonville having more than $71 million cap space per Spotrac, and Pierre-Paul’s obvious desire for the big pay day he has missed out on the past two years, pegging the Jaguars as a primary suitor for Pierre-Paul is obvious.
Will Jacksonville, or anyone else, get a chance to steal Pierre-Paul from the Giants? A tweet Giants’ cornerback Janoris Jenkins have raised some eyebrows, and the hopes of Giants fans.
We will see where this all goes. One thing I do believe strongly, though, is that if Pierre-Paul does reach the open market on March 9 his chances of returning to the Giants will be slim. Someone will overpay for him, and that someone might well be Coughlin.