The early word after Jason Pierre-Paul‘s car crash indicated that he was not seriously injured. Unfortunately, that no longer appears to be the case. The Buccaneers defensive end may be in danger of missing the entire season due to a neck injury suffered in the accident, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears.
At this time, the belief is that Pierre-Paul will require surgery, which would almost certainly rule him out for the year. Pierre-Paul led the Bucs with 12.5 sacks last season, but the club will need to find pass rush pressure elsewhere in 2019.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that an off-the-field injury has held JPP back. On July 4, 2015, Pierre-Paul lost his right index finger in a fireworks accident. To the surprise of many, he bounced back to register 15.5 sacks across 28 games in the following two seasons. Hopefully, Pierre-Paul can rebound similarly after his neck malady.
Roughly half of Pierre-Paul’s $14.9MM salary for 2019 became guaranteed in March, so the Bucs have little recourse here when it comes to the salary cap. They also have very little in the way of cap flexibility, so it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to get in on the bidding for Ezekiel Ansah and other impact edge rushers left on the market.
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