The Giants have gotten past the hard feelings that arose after Jason Pierre-Paul and his agent froze out the team in the offseason, and are interested in bringing back the veteran pass rusher after his contract expires this winter, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. The report comes on the heels of JPP indicating he’d like to remain in New York and play out the rest of his career as a Giant.
After injuring his hand in a fireworks accident this summer, Pierre-Paul didn’t report to the Giants, who wanted their doctors to examine him, for about two months, creating some apparent acrimony. Ultimately though, the two sides worked past those issues and agreed to a reworked contract, with JPP returning to the field in Week 9.
As he has adjusted to wielding a club on his injured hand, the former first-round pick hasn’t quite been his usual self, having recorded just 20 tackles and one sack. However, he’s still one of the team’s top pass rushers. Outside of Robert Ayers, who plays primarily in passing situations and has compiled eight sacks, no Giants edge defender has a higher Pro Football Focus grade than Pierre-Paul, who ranks 34th out of 107 qualified players — George Selvie comes in 91st, while Kerry Wynn places 96th.
As he once again nears potential free agency, Pierre-Paul knows that he’s valuable to a Giants team lacking a consistent pass rush. JPP, who turns 27 on New Year’s Day, told reporters on Wednesday that there’s nobody currently on the roster who could step in and replicate his production against both the pass and run for the team.
“They don’t need me, they need a pass rusher,” Pierre-Paul said, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. “I feel like that’s what I bring to the table. I’m not just a pass rusher, I’m also a run-stopper. I think I play the run better than I play the pass, it just so happens I can get back there fast enough and disrupt the quarterback. I’m an all-around player.”
Pierre-Paul may not be quite as effective an all-around player as he was prior to his fireworks mishap, but as Vacchiano points out, the defensive end could make the case that he’ll only get better as he continues to learn how to play without the use of all the fingers on his right hand. JPP, who will undergo some additional surgery on that hand this offseason, could end up in the $10MM-per-year range this offseason, based on supply and demand, several agents told Vacchiano.
With Muhammad Wilkerson likely to be franchised by the Jets, Pierre-Paul would be one of the top defensive lineman available if he reaches the open market. And getting to the open market appears likely for JPP if he and the Giants can’t work out a longer-team deal, since the team will be very reluctant to franchise him again with his price tag on the rise.