According to a report from WINZ in Florida, Giants star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has been involved in a serious accident involving fireworks which may have severely injured his hand. Pierre-Paul is currently a franchise player for the Giants, but does not have an active contract with the team. He had been hoping to negotiate a long term extension with the Giants that would pay him in excess of $14 million per season. His one year tender offer was worth $14.8 million and now it could be worth nothing.
The Giants can opt to pull the tender offer from Pierre-Paul at any time which would, in turn, allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, at a time when he may be completely unable to play football. Even if he had signed the contract he would have no protection since the guarantee in the contract is for football injury only, meaning the Giants could place him on a non-Football injury list and avoid payment completely if they so desired.
Teams and players can negotiate lower value payments to a player on NFI, as a bit of a goodwill gesture. They can also negotiate a very low value regular contract to compensate the player and keep available a route for extension during the year if the injury is not as serious as some of the rumors suggest. Such a deal would likely pay a minimum salary if on IR, PUP, NFI, or some other list and a base rate similar to the final year of his rookie contract.
Either way this is a potentially devastating injury (if true) that could have been prevented. This is why teams often put certain clauses in contracts about performing certain activities and why agents should steer their players against doing things that can void potential earnings. This could be a cautionary tale for years to come for any potential free agent, franchise player, or restricted player who does not have an active contract and is thinking of doing something potentially dangerous to his body. This has the makings of a sad story for Pierre-Paul.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.