The Giants are interested in signing both of their significant defensive ends this offseason, as Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. The team is looking to retain both Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers and they have plans to speak with their reps this week.
The Giants were expected to try and retain Ayers, but the news regarding JPP is somewhat surprising. Earlier this month, it was reported that the Giants were very ready to let the defensive end test free agency and go elsewhere this offseason.
Pierre-Paul has been one of Big Blue’s fiercest defenders since they drafted him 15th overall in 2010. The 27-year-old end totaled 42 sacks from 2010-14, including a career-high 16.5 during the Giants’ Super Bowl-winning campaign in 2011. However, his career took a terrible turn last summer when he lost his right index finger thanks to a July 4 fireworks accident.
Pierre-Paul returned to the field in November and ended up appearing in eight games, registering 26 tackles and a personal-low one sack. Despite his statistical decline, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) still ranked Pierre-Paul a solid 30th out of 91 qualifying edge rushers. The site remained impressed with his pass-rushing ability, though it gave him a poor grade against the run. He clearly disagrees in regards to the latter, having stated in December that, “I think I play the run better than I play the pass.”
Ayers has played in exactly 12 games in each of the last two seasons for the Giants, but he has proven to be a disruptive force each time. This past season, Ayers notched a career-high 9.0 sacks to go along with 41 total tackles, and the Giants’ pass-rush unit would be lacking if he signs elsewhere.
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