From training camp until the last week of the season, one of the biggest questions of the Giants’ season has been what do to with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The fifth-year pro will become a free agent at the end of the season, and the team can either pay him a lot of money to stay in New York or watch him sign with another team and fill his spot via young players, the draft, or free agency.
"I think I am worth a lot of money, what do you think?," Pierre-Paul told reporters this week. “I don’t know what my future holds. Who knows if I am going to be in a Giant uniform, who knows where I am going to be in the offseason. Like I said, now, the numbers are there, I had a great season, and everybody sees it. There really is nothing else to say, just negotiations and it is coming.”
After exploding onto the scene with 16.5 sacks in 2011 and winning a Super Bowl with the Giants, Pierre-Paul struggled with injury while the Giants struggled to win games in 2012 and 2013. This season, the Giants haven’t been great, but Pierre-Paul has notched 10.5 sacks with a career-high three forced fumbles. He’s also excelled in run defense.
Like many great Giants of the past, Pierre-Paul wishes to remain with Big Blue for the rest of his career, but he also has an obligation to make the best decision for himself and his family. Those two goals do not always coincide.
“I‘d love to be a Giant for the rest of my career,” said Pierre-Paul. “But at the end of the day, it doesn’t always fold like that. Look at Justin Tuck, look at Osi Umenyiora, look at Brandon Jacobs, it doesn’t matter.”
Although the Giants have seen young pass rushers like Damontre Moore and Devon Kennard emerge this season, Pierre-Paul would not be an easy player to replace. The front office would likely need to draw from multiple sources to fill the productivity gap. We saw that happen during this past offseason when the team let Justin Tuck go but signed Robert Ayers and drafted Kennard.
In the end, Pierre-Paul is going to do what’s best for him, and the Giants will have to react to that.
“Just keep hustling, playing football, that is just me, period. There is nothing special about it. I am just a kind of guy that loves to play football game. It is going to be a business situation, it’s going to be about my family, and what I want to pursue. At the end of the day, I’m here. If I am a Giant, then I will be a Giant for my whole life. I don’t know what is going to happen.”