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Free Agency 2015: Cincinnati Bengals and Jason Pierre-Paul

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Taking a look at free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and wondering... should the Cincinnati Bengals sign the former Giants defensive end?

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Despite an unwavering desire to be a "Giant for life", New York  defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will enter free agency as an unrestricted free agent on March 10.

First thing's first... there's a possibility that the Giants could apply the franchise tag on Pierre-Paul, costing an estimated $14.6 million. He'd be one of several defensive linemen facing the franchise tag, from the Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh (for $26.87 million) to the Buffalo Bills' Jerry Hughes. Per the New York Post:

The Giants rarely like to travel the franchise tag route, but they did use it in 2012 on punter Steve Weatherford and before that in 2009 on running back Brandon Jacobs. The franchise tag can also serve as insurance for the team, buying time before coming to an agreement on a long-term deal with the player.

Let's pretend for the moment that they don't use the tag.

Pierre-Paul recently concluded his fifth season in the NFL, generating 12.5 quarterback sacks, 77 tackles, six passed defensed and a career-high three forced fumbles. In addition to his ability as a pass rusher, Pierre-Paul finished the season as one of the league's top defensive ends (in a base 4-3 defense) against the run.

In five years with the Giants, Pierre-Paul has generated 42 quarterback sacks, eight forced fumbles and scored two interceptions. And yet, despite his 12.5 sacks in 2014, he's struggled to replicate the dominating season that he had in 2011 (the benchmark that everyone views him with).

WHY THE BENGALS SHOULD SIGN HIM

Are you kidding?

Cincinnati's production on the defensive line was awful. No one filled the vacancy left by Michael Johnson's departure and the Bengals had limited production from players that they expected more from (Geno Atkins, Wallace Gilberry, Domata Peko and all of the players they've drafted on the defensive line over the past three years). The once powerful Fisher-Price package has been locked away in Andy's toy box.

Their number of quarterback sacks were down, as was overall pressure and hits on the quarterback. One could argue that this was a byproduct of Paul Guenther's trust in the front-four to generate pressure and np  -- if that's the case then the Bengals REALLY need help here.

WHY THE BENGALS SHOULDN'T SIGN HIM

This has Michael Johnson written all over it.

Pierre-Paul has had one great season and another very good one. His production during the others seasons, while solid, reflects Johnson's work in Cincinnati. One could argue that the Bengals need a player of Johnson's caliber and while you won't get much of an argument from this writer, there's the economic question that comes with this perspective.

Per the Star-Ledger:

The $8-10 million range appears the most likely scenario for Pierre-Paul. The $12 million range could be an option if he finishes this season strong, especially some of the top pass-rushers on the market (Pierre-Paul, Washington's Brian Orakpo and Carolina's Greg Hardy) filled with question marks.

Johnson signed a five-year deal worth $43.75 million with $18 million guaranteed. Johnson's cap number in 2014 was $9 million, which will mirror his cap number for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015.

Is Pierre-Paul worth it? Can't Cincinnati get similar production with Margus Hunt and Will Clarke?