Giants blue. That’s all Jason Pierre-Paul knows.
But the star defensive end is prepared to face a future that doesn’t include the team that drafted him.
As he sees it, he made good on his one-year prove-it deal, recording seven sacks, including 5 1⁄2 in his final two games. And now he wants to be rewarded. “I’m looking for a long-term contract, man,” Pierre-Paul said.
“I’m not signing no one-year deal. No,” he said Monday, less than 24 hours after the Giants lost to the Packers, 38-13, in an NFC wild-card game.
“I done proved it, I done showed it. There’s not really a guy like me out here doing it with 7 1⁄2 fingers — still,” he added with a laugh.
Pierre-Paul, who turned 28 on Jan. 1, insisted he “would love to return” to the Giants, adding that he and his defensive linemates developed “great chemistry” this past season. But this will be “a business decision,” he said.
The Giants either could sign him to a multiyear deal or place the franchise tag on him again, but Pierre-Paul said he won’t sign a franchise tag. If he doesn’t sign it, the Giants still retain his rights.
“At the end of the day, I have a family,” he said. “I’m going to sit down and think about the process. Football is a game of business. You don’t work for free. And that’s basically it. It’s going to be a family decision and it’s definitely going to be my decision at the end of the road.”
The Giants also have to consider pending free-agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who expressed a desire to return. “But it ain’t always up to me. So we’ll see how everything pans out,” Hankins said.
Asked if it is financially possible to re-sign both JPP and Hankins, general manager Jerry Reese said: “I think so.” But the Giants already have committed a large amount of money to defensive linemen Olivier Vernon and Damon “Snacks” Harrison. Still, they’d love to have Pierre-Paul, too.
“We’re in the beginning of the offseason evaluations and we’ll keep all our options open and try to do what’s best for everybody involved,” Reese said. “Do we want him back? Of course we want him back; he’s a good football player.”
“JPP is a tremendous player,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “Any time you can rush the quarterback or cover somebody on defense, you are a valuable asset. We’ll take a look at that shortly. Do I want him back? JPP is a heck of a player. He makes a lot of things easier on defense. Sure.”
Pierre-Paul has proudly worn blue and white for seven seasons, and the support he has received has meant a lot to him.
“The Giants have a great organization, a great fan base . . . If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. That’s why I play. If I made it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” he said. “New York is the biggest city, biggest fan base, and they don’t sugarcoat nothing around here . . . I think I did a tremendous job here.”
Pierre-Paul doesn’t know what his future holds, but he is confident about one thing.
“My future’s bright, man,” he said. “Lots of football to be played.”