All offseason, when discussing the Oakland Raiders' salary-cap surplus, I've mentioned the possibility of something strange happening late in the offseason that could give the team a chance to use it.
Pierre-Paul suffered hand injuries in an accident involving fireworks during the Fourth of July weekend. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday evening that Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated Wednesday.
The issue, though, may be between the Giants and Pierre-Paul. The team assigned him the franchise tag and he has yet to sign the deal. There have been reports the Giants have pulled their long-term offer in light of the incident. The deadline for a franchised player to sign a long-term deal is July 15. If that deadline passes without a new deal, the player must play for the franchised tender number ($14.8 million in Pierre-Paul's case) this season. He would not be able to sign a new contract until after the season.
Pierre-Paul declined to visit with a Giants' contingent that flew to Florida to meet with him this week. There is clear acrimony. The question is whether the problem will expand to the point where the Giants pull the franchise tender and allow Pierre-Paul to become a free agent.
We are probably a long way from that happening, but it has to be considered at this point. Clearly, the Giants will want Pierre-Paul on their team if he is healthy enough to play this season, but there are clear trust issues here.
If it gets to the point where Pierre-Paul is a free agent, the Oakland Raiders would have to be considered a prime pursuer. As of Monday, the Raiders have $16.3 million in salary-cap room. Every player on their roster is signed so they have money to spend.
They also have a big need at the position. Pierre-Paul, 26, had 12.5 sacks last season and has 42 in five NFL seasons. Oakland had 22 sacks last season, which was tied for the second fewest in the NFL. It had just seven sacks from its defensive ends, which was an NFL-low. The Raiders did not add any established pass-rushers this offseason and it is arguably the team's greatest need heading into training camp, which begins July 31.
Thus, the Raiders, who also have former Pierre-Paul mentor Justin Tuck on the roster, have the financial means to accommodate Pierre-Paul and the need on the field. Yes, there are other teams that would be in the same situation and there would be competition for Pierre-Paul’s services.
We're not there yet, but if the situation gets to the point of no return for Pierre-Paul in New York, Oakland could loom as a potential landing spot for the star pass-rusher.