EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — The New York Giants opened their mandatory offseason minicamp without their best defensive player.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is skipping the three-day minicamp after deciding not to sign the team's $14.8 million tender offer as its franchise player.
While it's not a surprise, his absence on Tuesday is a setback for struggling unit that is trying to learn a new defense and rebound with Steve Spagnuolo back for a second stint as coordinator.
"All I know is that he is not here," said coach Tom Coughlin, who has seen the Giants miss the playoffs the past three seasons.
"He has been here for a couple of days and spent a couple of days in the classroom, and seemed to do well with the information given up that that point," Coughlin said. "But since he has left, obviously he has received nothing."
Pierre-Paul is the Giants' playermaker. He led them with 12 1/2 sacks last season and was finished tied for third with 77 tackles.
"Anybody can put a highlight film together and make a play look great," Spagnuolo said of Pierre-Paul. "If you just watch tape with JPP out there, it is evident to me that he is an elite defensive end and fits a 4-3 system, which is exciting."
Spagnuolo says Pierre-Paul is falling behind in the new system. However, he appreciated that the 2010 first-rounder met with line coach Robert Nunn and discussed some of the defensive changes when the offseason training program started on April 20.
"I thought that spoke volumes to who he is, what he's about and how important this is to him," Spagnuolo said.
Pierre-Paul met with Nunn six or seven times after the offseason program started nearly two months ago to go over the new defense.
"I thought he had a very good grasp of it when he left," Nunn said. "When he gets here, that's where we will begin."
The Giants have until July 15 to either sign Pierre-Paul to a long-term deal or risk losing him to free agency after the season.
The 26-year-old Pierre-Paul is not under contract and can't be fined. Skipping the workouts also helps him to avoid an injury, which would put a long-term contract at risk.
Pierre-Paul has been working out in Florida with a personal trainer. He wasn't immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Linebacker Jon Beason said that while it would have been nice to have Pierre-Paul at the workouts, the players understand he has to take care of business.
"He is going to be a big part of our success this year," Beason said. "He has come in and taken the initiative to get some chalk board work done — I don't know if I am supposed to point that out, but that's being a big vet and means a lot him.'
Eugene Parker, his agent, didn't return an email from The Associated Press seeking a comment on contract talks with the Giants.
Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn said the linemen aren't worried about Pierre-Paul. They know he will be ready to go when he signs.
"We know he is working and we know what he can do, so it's bringing us up to his standards more than the other way around," Kuhn said.
NOTES: TE Larry Donnell hopes to get a boot off his left foot in two days. ...OT Will Beatty said that tearing a pectoral muscle last month while weightlifting was a fluke accident. He did was not at his maximum weight when the injury happened. The team said he will be sidelined for up to six months, but he hopes to return sooner. ...PK Josh Brown doesn't plan to change his approach to extra points with the league moving it back to the 15-yard line this season. It's just another kick, although from 33-yards now. "Come fall it's going to be a bigger deal than people think, considering the situations, time in the game, circumstances of the season, and the playoffs. Every point is going to matter." ... LB Unai' Unga, S Mykkele Thompson and CB Prince Amukamara had interceptions during the two-hour practice.