Jason Pierre-Paul still hasn’t signed his franchise tender with the Giants, and it’s making Big Blue fans around the globe nervous. Even though the Pro Bowl defensive end had to have a finger amputated after a fireworks accident over July 4 weekend, he could still be the difference between the Giants making the playoffs in 2015 and them sitting home for a fourth straight January.
According to ESPN NFL insider Ed Werder, the reason Pierre-Paul is hesitant to sign his tender is that he’s not yet confident that he’ll be healthy enough to play at the start of the regular season. If he doesn’t play in New York’s first six games, the Giants can put him on the non-football injury list and elect to not pay him for the missed time.
The good news for Giants fans is that Pierre-Paul’s former teammate and current friend Justin Tuck gave a vote of confidence towards the defensive end’s health in a recent interview with NJ.com at a charity event.
Tuck told the website that Piere-Paul is going to have a great year. There doesn’t seem to be too much concern on Tuck’s part on whether or not Pierre-Paul will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. If Pierre-Paul really is feeling that well, he could be close to signing the franchise contract worth $14.8 million.
That doesn’t mean that he’ll once again be a terror to opposing offensive lines like he was in 2014, when he recorded 12.5 sacks with three forced fumbles. However, maybe playing without an index finger won’t be too much of a detriment. Former Giants offensive lineman Rich Seubert told NJ.com that playing without a finger shouldn’t be too much different than playing with two fingers taped together, which many linemen do regularly.
Overall, the mood surrounding Pierre-Paul has been positive lately, which is a lot more than you could have said two-and-a-half weeks ago when rumors were circulating that the defensive end’s career could be in danger.
The Pierre-Paul story is just another reason why Giants fans are eager for training camp to kickoff on July 31. Starting then, the road to the regular season will begin in earnest and the many questions we have about Pierre-Paul will start to get answered by his on field play and not by the men who used to play with him.
Until then, we can only speculate on the key player’s condition.