Some progress seems to have been made with star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. By now everyone has heard of the fireworks fiasco that damaged Pierre-Paul’s hand and caused severe injuries to his fingers. According to Ed Werder of ESPN, JPP has taken a physical for the Giants and have submitted all of his medical records to them. Although the situation looks slightly clearer, there is still a lot of uncertainty and questions.
Most of these factors involve when JPP is going to come back to the field, and the financial ramifications of that. Pierre-Paul is reportedly ready to play, but as of now the Giants have remained mum on the situation.
Last year as a result of the many unfortunate off the field incidents involving players like Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, and others, the NFL created the Non-Football Injury list (NFI). This allows the team to basically place a player in this category for an injury or incident unrelated to the football field. If placed on this list, the players will be held out for a minimum of six weeks. Unlike a player who is placed on the PUP or IR, the player doesn’t need to be paid on the NFI, and they do not count against the 90 or 53 man rosters. It is up to the team whether or not they get paid , but more than likely I envision teams withholding money from these players, especially as they didn’t get injured on the job.
In this situation, the Giants used their franchise tag on JPP, but JPP never signed it. Worth 14.8 million dollars this season, JPP stands to lose just under 900k for each game that he doesn’t play in. Therefore, if he is placed on the NFI, JPP stands to miss out on over $5 million, something that him and both he and his agent are looking to avoid.
Most of the bargaining power resides with the team as the only real leverage Pierre-Paul has is his playmaking that the Giants defense could really use. But from the Giants’ perspective, JPP has been absent all pre-season, and he will likely need a few weeks to get back to full form anyway, not to mention football-shape. Will he be as effective if his hands were permanently damaged? In addition, if held out or placed on the NFI the Giants will save financially, and will save a roster spot, as JPP won’t count against the 53-man roster.
Understandably so, the NFI list is the last place JPP wants to end up. JPP could miss games without being placed on the list and missing the full 6 games, so it isn’t all or nothing. Most of it will depend on how the Giants view the physical and if they view JPP as ready. I don’t envision any scenario in which JPP is back before week 4 at the earliest. I think the most likely time range is between weeks 5-7. That might be close enough for the Giants to place JPP on the NFI. Whether they do or not, odds are JPP wont return until October.