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|Jason Pierre Paul soon will know more about his immediate future than he does right now. Starting Monday, NFL teams can place the franchise tag on impending free agents, triggering a two week window that ends March 2.
This is certainly a consideration for the Giants, as Pierre Paul would be a coveted player on the open market, a 26 year old defensive end coming off a 12.5 sack season, shaking off his past injury issues to start all 16 games.
The preference for the Giants is to sign Pierre Paul to a long term contract, but they know they can virtually assure they will keep him in uniform for one more year by making him their franchise player. The downside to that is he would cost an estimated $14.6 million on the 2015 salary cap.
The Giants rarely like to travel the franchise tag route, but they did use it in 2012 on punter Steve Weatherford and before that cheap nfl jerseys in 2009 on running back Brandon Jacobs. The franchise tag can also serve as insurance for the team, buying time before coming to an agreement on a long term deal with the player.
Last year, only four players in the NFL were assigned the franchise tag. There were eight players given the franchise tag in 2013 and a record 21 players in 2012.
Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong SuhGetty Images
This year, there are several high profile players who could be locked into the franchise tag. In addition to JPP, Justin Houston, coming off a 22 sack season for the Chiefs, could find himself designated as a franchise player, as could another pass rusher, Jerry Hughes of the Bills.
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh would be a monster free agent if he hit the open market. He will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to keep him in Detroit with the franchise tag, as it would cost the Lions about $26.9 million on their salary cap, based on Suh's mammoth rookie deal and contract restructures. Receivers Dez Bryant of the Cowboys, Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos and Randall Cobb of the Packers are also prospective free agents Aaron Hernandez Jerseys who could be given the franchise tag, as could Patriots safety Devin McCourty.
Patriots safety Devin McCourtyGetty Images
There are two types of franchise tags exclusive and non exclusive. The exclusive tag means the player can only negotiate with his own team and must receive a one year salary based on which is greater: The average of what the five highest paid players at his position are being paid this season or 120 percent of their own salary cap number from the previous year.
Most players are designated with the non exclusive tag. Any team that wants to sign a non exclusive cheap nfl jerseys franchise player from another team must give up two first round draft picks as compensation. The player's team then has a seven day window in order to match the offer. If the player remains on his current team, he receives a guaranteed salary based on the five year average cap percentage of the franchise tag for his position, or receives the same 120 percent raise as the exclusive franchise player.
Teams using the franchise tag run the risk of alienating their own player, as it offers a great deal of money for one year but no assurances or guaranteed money beyond that one year.
Pierre Paul has never reached the height of his breakthrough 2011 season, when he recorded 16.5 sacks. He was slowed by injuries in 2012 and 2013 and was not a dominant pass rusher last season before closing with a flourish. Nine of his 12.5 sacks came in the last five games. He has said he wants to stay with the Giants, but has also said, "If I'm here, I'm here, if I'm not, I'm not.''
The Giants are estimated to be about $18 million under the salary cap and do not want to use nearly $15 million on JPP's franchise tag. He will likely seek a long term deal averaging $12 million per year.
"We would certainly like him back, but it would have to be at the right price, something that makes sense for us,'' co owner John Mara said after the season. "I would be very surprised if he was not a Giant next year.''
Asked if he were alluding to the franchise tag, Mara said "That is certainly one of our options.''.