Jason Pierre-Paul

NFC South Notes: JPP, Panthers, Falcons

Bruce Arians has understandably asserted Shaquil Barrett‘s all-time contract year will keep him with the Buccaneers but added the team wants to keep its other high-profile front-seven starters as well. Both Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh‘s contracts are up, but Arians said keeping both will be a top priority (Twitter link via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com). The veteran HC may have indicated JPP resides slightly higher on the priority list as well, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (on Twitter). Pierre-Paul returned from another scary injury this season and has registered 8.5 sacks in 10 games, giving him 21 in two Bucs seasons. The Bucs hold a great deal of cap space, at $88.9MM, but will likely need to devote a chunk of that amount to Jameis Winston.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • If Greg Olsen opts to put off his broadcasting career for another year, he will likely need to relocate. The veteran tight end indicated recently he did not want to take part in a potential Panthers rebuild. While the franchise has not committed to charting that path, Joe Person of The Athletic expects Olsen to be elsewhere in 2020. “I just think sometimes the writing’s on the wall,” Olsen said, via Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required). “There hasn’t been anything officially. But I wanted to make sure if that was my last time that I made sure I told the people that I needed to how much they meant on my career.” One year (at a $6.6MM base salary) remains on the 34-year-old tight end’s contract. Carolina would save $8.1MM by cutting Olsen, its top tight end for the past nine years.
  • Moving to a younger NFC South tight end, Austin Hooper acknowledged the Falcons have not yet made him an offer to stay, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Hooper, however, would like to return, and Thomas Dimitroff appeared to indicate the breakout tight end will be a priority (Twitter link via Ledbetter). We heard this earlier this season as well.
  • A Hooper return may lead De’Vondre Campbell elsewhere. The Falcons already gave a top-market contract to Deion Jones and are up against the salary cap. While noting he wants to stay in Atlanta, the Falcons’ top 2019 tackler acknowledged (via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure) he may need to change teams. Although the Falcons will consider re-signing Campbell and Vic Beasley, Dimitroff did not commit to either’s return (via McClure, on Twitter).
  • Despite Breshad Perriman‘s end-of-season stretch potentially raising his free agency price, the Buccaneers‘ No. 3 wideout would like to stay in this high-octane offense. Perriman signed a one-year, $4MM deal with Tampa Bay, doing so after backing out of a Cleveland commitment following the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. The Bucs have Mike Evans on a high-end deal and will see Chris Godwin enter a contract year in 2020, perhaps pushing Perriman to another team.
  • A player the Panthers do not want on another team: James Bradberry. Carolina’s top cornerback met with GM Marty Hurney, and David Newton of ESPN.com notes the fourth-year corner received a “be patient” message from this summit. The Panthers want Bradberry back, Newton adds, but the former Round 2 pick would obviously prefer an upper-echelon deal to stay.

Jason Pierre-Paul Open To Returning To Buccaneers

Jason Pierre-Paul and the Buccaneers agreed to a restructured contract back in September that allows JPP to become a free agent at the end of the season. The two sides came to that agreement because JPP suffered a significant neck injury in an offseason car accident, and while Tampa could have avoided paying his 2019 salary at all, it would have been a bad look for the team to not pay a player whose injury came in a car accident in which he wasn’t even cited.

JPP has hit many of the incentives in the reworked deal, so he will still end up taking home a nice chunk of money for the 2019 season, and the Bucs’ decision has apparently preserved their relationship with the talented pass rusher. Though Pierre-Paul will be able to hit the open market in 2020, he would love to return to Tampa, as Jenna Laine of ESPN.com writes.

Pierre-Paul will turn 31 on January 1, but he has played very well since returning to the field in Week 8, which is a continuation of his strong play from 2018, his first year with the Bucs. As Laine notes, JPP has also become one of the most vocal leaders in the locker room, and other players have gravitated towards him.

One way or another, Pierre-Paul is not considering retirement, and he is optimistic that Tampa Bay is heading in the right direction under head coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Negotiations with the Bucs (or any other team) could be complicated by the neck injury, but Pierre-Paul says his neck is completely healed and is “just like everyone else’s.”

As one league executive told Laine, if JPP’s physical is clear, he should have no issue finding a job, and given the contracts that pass rushers have been bringing home, he can reasonably expect a lucrative, multi-year pact.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Colts, Dolphins, JPP, Broncos

The Colts are expecting Devin Funchess to return soon, but head coach Frank Reich didn’t want to say anything definitive when talking with reporters on Monday.

“Yeah, we’re gonna monitor him as we go,” Reich said (via Andrew Walker of the team’s website). “You know, we’ve already talked about his injury a bunch; I mean we’ve gotta make sure that thing’s 100 percent healed, so we’ll monitor it this week and see how it goes.”

Reich did note that wideout T.Y. Hilton didn’t suffer a setback with his calf injury during Thursday’s night loss to the Texans, and he also revealed that receiver Parris Campbell could return this week from a fractured hand. Running back Marlon Mack won’t play this weekend against the Titans, according to the head coach.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • The Dolphins will likely be on the hunt for wide receiver help, according to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe (via Twitter). Jakeem Grant (ankle) and Albert Wilson (rib) both suffered injuries during Sunday’s loss to the Browns, leaving the team with only two healthy receivers in DeVante Parker and Allen Hurns. Head coach Brian Flores noted that he’s uncertain if Grant or Wilson would end up missing the rest of the season due to their injuries (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald).
  • Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul played 76-percent of his team’s defensive snaps this weekend, earning him another $600K. As Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets, the veteran has already earned $3MM in bonuses in five games, and he could earn another $3MM through his team’s final five games. Pierre-Paul has a $3MM base salary this season.
  • Take this for what it’s worth, but Vic Fangio told reporters that Broncos quarterback Drew Lock could “possibly” be on the roster this Sunday and could “possibly” start vs. the Chargers (via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post on Twitter). The second-round rookie has been on the IR since September, but he was designated to return earlier this month.
  • Former NFL running back Karlos Williams has signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, the team announced on Twitter. Williams ran for 517 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie, but he was later slapped with three separate suspensions. The 26-year-old was reinstated from his indefinite suspension last February, and he’s finally found his next gig.

Bucs’ JPP To Play Vs. Titans

The Buccaneers have activated outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul from the non-football injury list, per a club announcement. That means JPP will return within the allotted 21-day window for NFI players and take the field against the Titans on Sunday. 

JPP suffered a fractured neck in a May car wreck, but miraculously managed to return to practice earlier this month. It’s fantastic news for the Bucs, who get a Pro Bowler back in the lineup to join UFA addition Shaquil Barrett, who has been exceptional as JPP’s main fill-in. Barrett is tied for the league lead with nine sacks – already tripling last year’s tally with the Broncos.

JPP, meanwhile, notched 12.5 sacks in his first Bucs season. With any luck, he’ll be able to pick up right where he left off and help the Bucs climb out of their 2-4 hole.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Pierre-Paul Returns To Bucs Practice

The Buccaneers are not practicing as a team during their bye week, but one key player will participate in some important workouts. The Bucs began Jason Pierre-Paul‘s 21-day window for potential activation, with Bruce Arians indicating (via the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud, on Twitter) the standout defensive end would practice Tuesday and Wednesday.

JPP has been sidelined for months because of a neck injury. He’s currently on Tampa Bay’s NFI list. The car accident the 10th-year veteran suffered left him with a fractured vertebra and left his NFL future uncertain. Arians said last week a return to practice would be the plan, and it’s a promising sign JPP has hit another checkpoint on his journey back to the field.

Tampa Bay has received borderline-stunning production from UFA addition Shaquil Barrett this season, with the ex-Denver rotational pass rusher’s nine sacks tied for the league lead. JPP registered 12.5 in his first Bucs season and would be a welcome presence opposite Barrett.

The Bucs have three weeks from Tuesday to move Pierre-Paul to their active roster. Should that not happen by then, the 30-year-old defensive end will revert to season-ending IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Saints, Brees, Giants

Saints quarterback Drew Brees wants to return sometime before the team’s Week 9 bye, but the team wants to exercise caution and push that off until Week 10, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets. The Saints’ position makes sense, given Brees’ importance and Teddy Bridgewater‘s recent performance.

The Saints are 4-1 following Sunday’s win over the Bucs and they’ll look to make it four straight with a win over the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.

Here’s more on some notable injuries around the NFL:

  • The Giants officially ruled out running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (knee), and running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) for Thursday night’s game against the Pats. The Giants showed some new signs of life following Daniel Jones‘ takeover of the offense, but they fell to the Vikings over the weekend and the odds may be stacked against them in New England.
  • Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul will be able to resume practicing with the team next week. JPP has not missed a game over the last two seasons, but he has yet to make his 2019 debut thanks to a fractured vertebra in his neck. Recently, he restructured his deal with the Bucs, allowing him to reach free agency after the ’19 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: JPP, Keenum, Seahawks, Vikings

Jason Pierre-Paul restructured his contract with the Buccaneers yesterday, and now we have the details. Originally scheduled to make $13.65MM in 2019, his new base salary will be just $3MM, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. He’s eligible to come off the NFI list and return for the final ten games of the season, and he’ll receive a $200K bonus for each of those games that he plays in. He’ll get an additional $200K for every game he plays at least 50 percent of the defensive snaps and another $200K for each game he plays 75 percent of the defensive snaps. If he’s able to hit eight sacks he’ll get a $500K bonus and another $1MM if he reaches ten sacks, pushing the maximum value to $10.5MM.

Those sack goals are pretty lofty for only ten games, and it’s unlikely he makes the max value. Because JPP suffered a non-football injury, the Buccaneers weren’t obligated to pay his 2019 salary at all and could’ve voided his guarantees. But as Auman writes, “the team wouldn’t look good not paying a player whose injury came in a car accident in which he wasn’t even cited,” so the two sides came to an agreement. It’s unclear if he’ll actually be ready to go in Week 8 after the Bucs’ bye, as we haven’t gotten an update on his neck in a while.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Case Keenum didn’t practice yesterday, sparking some excitement that the start of the Dwayne Haskins era might be right around the corner. That appears to have been false hope, as Keenum was back on the practice field working with the team during the portion open to the media Thursday. As of right now, the expectations is that he’ll be under center for the team’s Week 4 game against the Giants. Colt McCoy was also on the practice field today, and it looks like he’s close to returning from the leg injury that has sidelined him up until this point. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has been tight-lipped about the situation, but it seems possible that Haskins will be demoted to third-string upon McCoy’s return.
  • It appears Seahawks tight end Ed Dickson‘s recovery isn’t going as planned. Pete Carroll is “concerned” Dickson won’t be ready to come off injured reserve when first eligible, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times (Twitter link). When Dickson first had knee surgery back in early August, Carroll said the team was hoping he’d be out 4-5 weeks. That would’ve put him on track for an early September return, but now he apparently might not be ready for the Week 9 game in early November. Seattle is notoriously overly-optimistic about injuries, but that’s unusual even by their standards. The veteran’s first year with the Seahawks was last season, where he was mostly used as a blocker. Seattle just traded away Nick Vannett, and it looks like Will Dissly will be their only real option at tight end for the foreseeable future.
  • On the flip side, Vikings receiver Josh Doctson‘s recovery appears to be going quite smoothly. Doctson was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury shortly after being signed, and he thinks he’ll be ready to go when first eligible after eight games. “For sure, absolutely,’’ he said Wednesday, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “That’s the target and that’s the plan.’’ Minnesota was recently forced to re-sign Laquon Treadwell because of how thin they were at receiver, so they could surely use Doctson. A former first-round pick of the Redskins, Doctson was released at final cuts. He was quickly scooped up by the Vikings, but suffered his injury a week later.

Bucs, JPP Agree To New Contract

The Buccaneers and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul have agreed to a revised deal that will make him a free agent after the 2019 season, rather than 2020, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The revision will clear $4.4MM in cap space for Tampa Bay and JPP will receive upwards of $10MM in exchange.

An unfortunate car accident in the spring landed JPP on the league’s NFI list, meaning that he cannot play for the first six weeks of his season. His outlook beyond that for 2019 remains murky, though he did begin rehab in late August.

While on the NFI list, teams are not obligated to pay a player’s salary. However, JPP’s deal still called for a $7.5MM injury guarantee for 2019 with a total cap figure of $14.9MM.

Under the terms of the new deal, JPP will have an opportunity to make up to $10.5MM, with a base salary of $5MM. And, he’ll have a path to the open market in March, where he could land a decent-sized deal based on his past performance. In 2018, Pierre-Paul amassed 12.5 sacks on the Bucs’ defensive front, matching the second-highest showing of his career.

After losing to JPP’s former club in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday, the Bucs will turn their attention to the Rams this weekend.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Place JPP On NFI

The Buccaneers are placing defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (neck) on the reserve/non-football injury list. With that, JPP will not count against the team’s initial 53-man max. He’ll also be barred from playing in the first six weeks of the season.

Pierre-Paul was involved in a one-car accident in early May and suffered a fractured vertebra. The fact that he was able to avoid surgery left open the possibility that he could play in 2019, but it sounds like October will be the earliest he can see the field. And, a November or December return seems more likely.

The Bucs are not a favorite to make the playoffs, and if Tampa Bay is out of contention by the time Pierre-Paul is ready to return, the club may elect to keep him sidelined for the whole year. But if there is even a glimmer of hope, adding the two-time Pro Bowler would be a major boost to the Bucs’ defensive front.

Pierre-Paul notched 12.5 sacks in 2018, his first season in Tampa Bay, and reestablished himself as a legitimate force to be reckoned with coming off the edge.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Pierre-Paul Cleared For Rehab Activites

Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul has been cleared by team and independent doctors to resume rehab activities, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets. JPP still has a ways to go before he’s cleared to play, but this is obviously great news.

Pierre-Paul was involved in a one-car accident in early May and suffered a fractured vertebra. The fact that he was able to avoid surgery left open the possibility that he could play in 2019, though it sounded as if October would be the earliest he could see the field, and a November or December return seemed more likely.

That still may be the case, but at least things are trending in the right direction. As Jenna Laine of ESPN.com observes (via Twitter), JPP was on the practice field today and was not in the bulky neck brace that he had been in.

The Bucs are not a favorite to make the playoffs, and if Tampa Bay is out of contention by the time Pierre-Paul is ready to return, the club may elect to keep him sidelined for the whole year. But if there is even a glimmer of hope, adding the two-time Pro Bowler would be a major boost to the Bucs’ defensive front.

Pierre-Paul notched 12.5 sacks in 2018, his first season in Tampa Bay, and reestablished himself as a legitimate force to be reckoned with coming off the edge.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.