By Curt Macysyn
If the New York Giants do not make the playoffs this year, it will mark the third straight season where Blue Blue will miss the post season dance. Since the team’s Super Bowl XLVI victory, the team’s play has been nothing special. In fact, there have been more disappointing efforts than stellar ones over the past three seasons.
Since Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin has won two Super Bowl titles, one could easily surmise that coaching may not be the team’s problem. Instead, the chatter around the NFL is that the Giants’ roster contains few start quality players, and viewing it statistically, those observations appear to be accurate. But if you think that the past three seasons have been below standard, think about a Giants’ lineup without defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
This past week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed a seven-year, $95.2 million contract extension, according the website OverTheCap.com. McCoy’s average salary becomes $13.6 million per year, and the contract comes with $14.8 million in fully guaranteed money. The contract makes McCoy the top paid defensive tackle in the NFL. The top paid defensive end in the NFL in a 4-3 scheme is Mario Williams, who hauls in $16.0 million per year for the Buffal Bills.
Meanwhile, J.J. Watt recently signed an extension that will net him $16.7 million per season and breaks the magical $100.0 million plateau if he plays out the term of the contract into the 2022 season. Given these numbers, it does not take a salary cap expert to calculate that JPP’s next contract will be worth in the neighborhood of $95 million over six years. And Jerry Reese needs to make the first move right now.
Pierre-Paul’s rookie contract can be voided five days after the Super Bowl, which means he will void his contract five days after the big game. Why wouldn’t he? According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), he ranks second among defensive ends with a + (19.2) grade over the first seven games of the 2014 NFL season.
If you have not noticed, the attraction of the Big Apple does not have the same appeal in football as it apparently does in baseball, hockey or even basketball. Free agents flocked to where the money flowed last off season. Cleveland, Oakland and Arizona all inked major free agents last off season. For those not keeping track, the Browns and Cardinals have never won a Super Bowl, and Oakland has not been relevant in over a decade.
The remaining marquee players on the Giants are only under contract through next season at best. Quarterback Eli Manning’s contract expires after the 2015 season, as does Prince Amukamara’s rookie deal, which was extended for another year this off season to the tune of almost $6.9 million. Besides Jason Pierre-Paul, Antrel Rolle has an expiring contract after this season. As badly as the Giants have played this season, imagine what the squad’s record would be without this quartet of players.
Last season, general manager Jerry Reese allowed linebacker Jon Beason test unrestricted free agency, instead of locking him up beofre the 2013 season ended. The result was a three-year, $17 million contract that surely was more money than the franchise could have signed Beason for prior to the end of 2013 campaign. Reese paid a retail price for Beason, which also meant that the Giants were forced into igoring Beason’s injury history that has reared its ugly head again in 2014.
The Super Bowl championship aura has officially worn off, and the fans have begun to grow impatient after each loss, as they should at this point. The past cannot be changed, and at this time only the future can be affected. Leaving the the Pierre-Paul contract situation to linger will only create a downward ripple effect that will torpedo the 2015 season before it even starts.
There are times to maintain traditions and standards, but the moratorium on contract negotiations during the season not only makes no sense, it has become bad business for Big Blue as well.
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Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.