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DE Jason Pierre-Paul given franchise tag

View photos of Giants who have been tagged in the past.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –
Jason Pierre-Paul has been one of the Giants' most important players since his arrival five years ago.

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JPP was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 10, but the Giants today designated him as their franchise player. The move gives the team and Pierre-Paul time to negotiate a long-term contract, though JPP is free to negotiate with other teams when the free agency signing period begins next week. But if Pierre-Paul signs a contract with another team, the Giants will receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.

Pierre-Paul had one of his finest seasons in 2014. After compiling just 3.5 sacks in the first 11 games, he had 9.0 sacks in the final five games. JPP's total of 12.5 sacks was the second-highest of his career and the highest total by a Giants player since he had 16.5 in 2011. Pierre-Paul also had a team-high 21 quarterback hits.

JPP had sacks in seven different games, including six with 1.5 or more sacks. That tied with Kansas City's Justin Houston for the NFL's third-highest total, behind Houston's J.J Watt and Baltimore's Elvis Dumervil, who each had seven. JPP had a career-high 2.5 sacks among his seven tackles vs. Washington on Dec. 14. He had 2.0 sacks at Dallas on Oct. 19, at Tennessee on Dec. 7 and vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 28, and 1.5 sacks vs. Arizona on Sept. 14 and at Jacksonville on Nov. 30. He had one sack at St. Louis on Dec. 21.

Pierre-Paul's two-sack game at Dallas was his first since Dec. 24, 2011, when he had two takedowns of the Jets' Mark Sanchez.

Check out photos of JPP's career as a New York Giant

JPP finished third on the team with 77 tackles (54 solo), including a team-high 16 tackles for losses. He also forced three fumbles and recovered one.

The Giants' first-round draft choice – and 15th overall selection - in 2010, Pierre-Paul has 42.0 career sacks. That places him eighth on the Giants' career list, four sacks behind George Martin.

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With the recent release of Mathias Kiwanuka, Pierre-Paul is the Giants' longest-tenured defensive lineman.

Pierre-Paul is the fourth Giants player to be designated as a franchise player, joining tackle Jumbo Elliott (1993), running back Brandon Jacobs (2009) and punter Steve Weatherford (2012). Both Jacobs and Weatherford signed long-term contracts two weeks after receiving their franchise designations.

The Giants have also used the transition tag on three players: linebacker Carl Banks (1993), tight end Howard Cross (1994) and running back Rodney Hampton (1996).

A "non-exclusive" franchise player must be offered a one-year contract of an amount no less than a figure calculated using the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the previous year (and other variables), or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater. A non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other teams, but if the player signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has the right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer – and loses the player – it is entitled to receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.

With the Giants placing the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants.com looks back at the defensive end's top five plays with Big Blue so far:

5. JPP gets first career sack vs. Jacksonville, second seals victory (Nov. 28, 2010)
The 15th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Pierre-Paul notched his first of 42 career sacks when he took down Jaguars quarterback David Garrard late in the third quarter of a Week 12 matchup. The rookie grabbed another on Jacksonville's final drive to preserve a 24-20 home victory for the Giants. Pierre-Paul forced fumbles on both plays, but Garrard was able to recover them.

4. JPP sacks Vick in Philadelphia (Sept. 25, 2011)
In a game that started to set the tone for the Giants' 2011 Super Bowl season and launch Pierre-Paul's breakout campaign, the second-year defensive end sacked the elusive Michael Vick in a 29-16 victory at Lincoln Financial Field. Pierre-Paul notched another in the fourth quarter on backup Mike Kafka, bringing his sack total to 4.5 in the first three weeks.

3. JPP takes down Romo for a safety (Dec. 11, 2011)
Pierre-Paul will long be remembered for how he ended one of the most thrilling regular-season games in Giants history against the Cowboys. But he also started it with a big play, tripping up quarterback Tony Romo in the end zone for a safety and the first points of the game.

2. Two interceptions returned for TDs (Oct. 28, 2012 at Dallas / Nov. 17, 2013 vs. Green Bay)
Pierre-Paul has two career interceptions, and he returned both for scores. The first was a 2012 meeting with the Cowboys when Pierre-Paul ran it back 28 yards. The second went for 24 yards off Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien. Both led to victories.

1. JPP blocks last-second FG in Dallas (Dec. 11, 2011)
Capping a 12-point comeback in the fourth quarter by the Giants, Pierre-Paul blocked Dan Bailey's 47-yard field goal that would have tied the game for the Cowboys with six seconds remaining. The road victory kept the Giants in postseason contention as they went on to win Super Bowl XLVI.

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