Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul

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Block: Pierre-Paul Is Right -- He Deserved A More Dignified Sendoff From Giants

Trading Defensive End Has Backfired On Big Blue

November 16, 2018 - 11:12 am
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Shielding himself behind the hackneyed motto that sports is a business, Jason Pierre-Paul still harbors a grudge against the New York Football Giants.

And rightfully so.

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The way in which the first-year defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recalled the Giants’ mishandling of his trade in March was -- to echo his own sentiment -- “shocking.”

Pierre-Paul told reporters this week that he wasn’t hurt by the fact that all he got was a phone call alerting him that he’d been traded -- by new general manager Dave Gettleman, whom he had no relationship with -- yet in the same breath, admitted his disappointment in the lack of communication from Giants ownership. Without mentioning him by name, he was talking specifically about co-owner John Mara.

MORE: Pierre-Paul On Facing Giants: 'I’m Bringing The House Down'

TV networks and enough members of the media will peddle rhetoric that Pierre-Paul is carrying a chip on his shoulder into Sunday’s game, but I would argue that is far more spin than truth. Rather, he’ll be hauling a grudge into MetLife Stadium.

His double talking alone this week is proof enough to this columnist that he hasn’t forgotten how flippant and disloyal Mara was toward him after eight years of service, highlighted by an outstanding 2011 season, punctuated by a Super Bowl victory. 

Several reports quoted sources that said Mara sent Pierre-Paul a farewell text to which he allegedly didn’t reply, but unconfirmed, it just illustrates a major lack of class on Mara’s part.

Albeit different circumstances, when Justin Tuck signed with the Oakland Raiders prior to the 2014 season after nine years with the Giants, Mara publicly poured over how it was hard to see him walk away and that he’d be missed and always thought of as a Giant.

MORE: Keidel: Win Over 49ers A Testament To Manning's Toughness, Former Greatness

Pierre-Paul -- virtually equivalent to Tuck in tackles and sacks during his tenure in New York -- received no laudatory sentiments upon his departure.

However, Pierre-Paul didn’t navigate the New York media for eight years without learning something about the business side of things that he was ultimately victimized by. The 29-year-old defensive end gave an unconvincing effort at being coy when he said he didn’t know who in the Giants organization made the final decision to trade him. That there would be Mara, and he knows it.

In a span of 12 months following the 2016 season, Mara designated Pierre-Paul as the Giants’ franchise player, cosigned a four-year $62 million contract extended by former GM Jerry Reese and proclaimed that he and Olivier Vernon would be the Giants’ bookend pass rushers for years to come, only to consent to a trade facilitated by Gettleman that delivered Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay for eventual 2018 third round draft pick of the Giants, B.J. Hill.

That sequence is part of the business of football, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

However, Gettleman deserves some blame for his role in coming in and persuading Mara that the Giants would benefit from ridding themselves of Pierre-Paul’s salary, among others, to make room for 2019 offseason spending.

But a one-foot-in, one-foot-out kind of “rebuild” rarely works, and that falls on Mara.

Perhaps clouded by Gettleman’s vision, or maybe asserting his own agenda, Mara traded away his most effective pass rusher, and only compounded matters with an inexcusable and impersonal sendoff.

Despite the Giants’ best intentions, which I still find highly questionable — regardless of their rational — getting rid of Pierre-Paul has completely backfired on them.

Evident in his eight sacks this year for the Bucs, Pierre-Paul is personally playing great, in spite of Tampa Bay’s 3-6 record. Collectively, the Giants defense has 10 total sacks.

And with the Giants' struggling offensive line surrendering 32 sacks of Eli Manning through nine games this year, I’d be surprised if Pierre-Paul left New Jersey on Sunday with the same sack total he enters the game with.

While Manning likely stands to take the brunt of Pierre-Paul’s determined aggression Sunday, it’s ironic because he was the only member of the Giants organization besides Gettleman to call Pierre-Paul after learning of the trade.

“I just wanted to say I appreciated him as a person and as a player,” Manning told reporters of what he said to his 2011 Super Bowl winning teammate.

Unfortunately, the co-owner could learn a lot from his star quarterback in the department of humanity.

Mara could take Sunday as an opportunity to apologize to Pierre-Paul, publicly or privately, but something tells me that if morality didn’t interfere with Mara’s business dealings last offseason, it won’t surface Sunday, either.

Follow Ben on Twitter at @benjaminblock21.