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Jason Pierre-Paul and the franchise tag: What happens now?

Let’s break down the impact of the tag and what could come next

Chicago Bears v New York Giants Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

So, what happens now that we know the New York Giants are placing the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul should they not have a deal by Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. Let’s break it down.

Is anybody happy?

Probably not.

Pierre-Paul has been waiting since before his 2015 fireworks accident to cash in a big long-term deal. The Giants used the tag on him that season, then the fireworks accident cost him half his right hand, half the 2015 season and a chance at a big free-agent pay day last season. He played on a one-year, $10 million “prove it” contract in 2016.

He made it clear at the end of the season that he wanted to get paid and wouldn’t sign another one-year deal. The franchise tag means he might not end up with a choice, assuming he would rather play and make $17 million than not play and make nothing.

The Giants can’t be happy, either. Of course, they wanted to keep Pierre-Paul for 2017. It is good that they have done that, there is no way the defense would have been as good without him. The problem is that if they can’t work out a long-term deal they will be stuck using half of their available salary cap on one player.

Negotiating window

Per NFL rules, the Giants and Pierre-Paul have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. What happens if they don’t? At that point, Pierre-Paul could only play under a one-year deal from the Giants.

Domino effect

Forget July 15 for a minute. March 9 would be the target date for the Giants to, hopefully, get Pierre-Paul to agree to a long-term deal. Why? That is the day the free-agency signing period begins and a long-term deal with Pierre-Paul would almost certainly include a lower salary cap hit than the $17 million the tag puts the Giants on the hook for.

Per Spotrac, the Giants have roughly $34 million to spend under an estimated $168 million salary cap. Subtract JPP’s money and that leaves about $17 million, more than $5 million of which is need for the rookie pool. So, we’re talking about $12 million in spending money left under that scenario. That is not a whole lot.

If there is no deal by March 9:

  • You can probably say goodbye to defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. That might be in the cards, anyway, but tagging JPP almost certainly seals that deal.
  • You can probably forget the idea of spending $10-12 million annually on an offensive lineman. So, you can probably say goodbye to the Andrew Whitworth dream.
  • You might be saying hello again to John Jerry, who figures to be a lot more inexpensive than any of the high-priced guards expected to be on the market.
  • Adrian Peterson can forget about the Giants, which is probably a good thing.
  • Dreaming about Martellus Bennett or Alshon Jeffery? Those probably weren’t going to happen, anyway, but they certainly won’t happen with the Giants paying JPP $17 million.