SUNDAY, 11:54am: Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk has once again cast a black cloud on the JPP story. Citing Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, Smith writes that Pierre-Paul has lost a great deal of weight because he has been unable to work out. Glazer adds that JPP has severe injuries to three fingers and had a skin graft within the last week. Between Glazer’s report and a pair of tweets from Jordan Raanan of NFL.com this morning, it appears that, if JPP returns in 2015, it will not be until the second half of the season. As his franchise tender would have paid him $14.8MM this year, each week that Pierre-Paul misses will cost him roughly $870,000.
SUNDAY, 9:07am: Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports puts a more positive slant on this development. La Canfora writes that the Giants are “very comfortable” with the plan that Pierre-Paul has been following in Florida and are pleased with the progress he has made. La Canfora says nothing is imminent, and it will be several weeks before New York reassesses JPP physically and settles his contract, but the Giants are not unhappy with what they saw; on the contrary, they are “very enthused.” Although it may be a bit optimistic at this point, La Canfora says an early October return is not out of the question.
SATURDAY, 9:36pm: The right hand injury defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffered in a July 4 fireworks accident is worse than the Giants have been led to believe, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. Further, there are some within the organization who fear that Pierre-Paul could miss the 2015 season.
The Giants don’t yet plan to rescind Pierre-Paul’s unsigned franchise tender, per Graziano, who notes that – in addition to his missing right index finger, fractured thumb and skin grafts – JPP is without a portion of another finger on his right hand. If the Giants don’t rescind the tender, he could sign it in an effort to get back on the field and collect a prorated amount of the $14.813MM sum. However, the Giants could subsequently place Pierre-Paul on the non-football injury list and end his season. The team would then be able to avoid paying him. Graziano writes that the odds of Pierre-Paul winning a potential appeal are low, given how he sustained the injury.
JPP has been working out on his own and will continue to do so, but it appears the chances of him returning to the field in the near future are slim. While he told the Giants last week that he’d be able to play if outfitted with a protective device for his hand, the team doesn’t want to risk deploying him at less than 100 percent, according to Graziano.
Pierre-Paul has been an important piece for the Giants during his five-year career, collecting 42 sacks – including 12.5 last season – since they used a first-round pick on him in 2010. The Giants had the NFL’s 29th-ranked defense last year even with Pierre-Paul, so it stands to reason that the unit could be in for worse trouble this season without him.