Jason Pierre-Paul plans to return to the Giants next week and expects to be able to play early on in the season, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) adds that the Giants will examine JPP’s hand to determine when he’ll actually be able to get back on the field.
Pierre-Paul had a strong 2014 campaign with 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles and was the league’s seventh-best 4-3 defensive end according to Pro Football Focus’ grades (subscription required). At the end of the season, JPP found himself entangled in a contract dispute with the Giants. The Giants slapped the defensive end with a one-year, $14.813MM franchise tender to keep him, but Pierre-Paul was fighting for a lucrative long-term deal. Big Blue reportedly came to the table with a ~$60MM offer, but Pierre-Paul turned it down.
In July, of course, things took a bizarre and unfortunate turn when JPP lost a finger in a fireworks accident. Since then, Pierre-Paul has been rather distant from the organization and even from his teammates. Despite the frosty summer between the two parties, the Giants are undoubtedly ecstatic to have their star defensive lineman back in the fold. Outside of JPP, the Giants don’t have any players who have recorded more than 7.0 sacks in a season.