Jason Pierre-Paul

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

NFC Notes: Packers, Clark, Lynch, Giants

The Packers made the surprising decision to cut Mike Daniels earlier today, and GM Brian Gutekunst confirmed that the club did try to trade Daniels first (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). It sounds as if Green Bay made some headway in trade talks, but the talks broke down over the last couple of weeks. Gutekunst also mentioned Daniels’ foot injury as a factor in the decision.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • The decision to cut Daniels has opened the door for the Packers to sign NT Kenny Clark to a lucrative extension, as Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Silverstein suggests (via Twitter) that such a deal could happen at the end of the season.
  • Matt Barrows of The Athletic suggests that, although John Lynch is the 49ers‘ GM, he is primarily in charge of the defense, while head coach Kyle Shanahan picks the offensive talent. And Lynch has missed on a few major decisions on the defensive side of the ball, so if that unit should struggle again, not only will defensive coordinator Robert Saleh be in danger of losing his job, but Lynch could be as well.
  • The Giants worked out free agent safeties Johnathan Cyprien and Tre Boston several days ago, but Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com does not believe Big Blue is going to pay for a starting-caliber safety at this point (Twitter link). He thinks the club was simply doing its due diligence.
  • The Panthers will give Daryl Williams some reps at left tackle and left guard in training camp, per GM Marty Hurney (via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic on Twitter). Williams signed a one-year deal in March to remain with Carolina, but Hurney is said to prefer Taylor Moton at right tackle — where Williams has spent most of his time as a pro — and the club drafted LT Greg Little in the second round this year. So if Williams is to earn the big FA contract that he missed out on this year, he may have to do so at an unfamiliar spot.
  • The Buccaneers have placed Jason Pierre-Paul on the active/non-football injury list, as James Palmer of the NFL Network tweets. Although a player on the active/NFI list can be activated from that list at any time before the start of the season, that will almost certainly not happen with JPP, who is expected to miss at least a chunk of the regular season.

NFC Notes: Pierre-Paul, Buccaneers, Kiser, Rams, Elliott, Cowboys

Jason Pierre-Paul doesn’t appear particularly close to returning to football activities. The Buccaneers defensive end shared a video of himself to Instagram recently, in which he can be seen wearing a bulky brace on his neck, per Florida Football Insiders. Pierre-Paul, of course, suffered a serious neck injury in a car accident back in May. At the time there was concern he’d miss the entire season, but JPP ended up avoiding surgery and as of right now the hope is he’ll be able to return at some point this year.

That being said, he’s still going to be sidelined for a significant period of time, and the last we heard is that he’ll be out until November at the earliest. FFI has details on the accident, including that his car “did a 360 degree wipeout into a guardrail.” The injury was a massive blow to the Buccaneers’ defense, which is hoping for a resurgence under new coach Bruce Arians. JPP had his best season in years in 2018, racking up 12.5 sacks. Tampa will need some unproven players to step up for their pass-rush in his place, and hopefully the former Giant can make it back as soon as possible.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Rams cut Mark Barron earlier this offseason, leaving them very thin at inside linebacker. They also didn’t resign Ramik Wilson, who started a handful of games when Barron was hurt last year. Cory Littleton is the entrenched starter at one inside linebacker spot, and second-year player Micah Kiser is “the odds-on favorite” to start next to him, per Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic. It’s a risky move, since Kiser doesn’t have much experience. In fact, the 2018 fifth-round pick didn’t play a single snap on defense last year. That being said, the Virginia product was a big contributor on special teams and the coaching staff has expressed confidence in him. Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips know what they’re doing, so it’s safe to assume Kiser is ready.
  • Ezekiel Elliott got some good news earlier today, when it was announced that he wouldn’t be suspended for an incident involving a security guard in Las Vegas back in May. While he ended up getting off without punishment, it sounds like the league took the investigation very seriously. In addition to speaking to Elliott, the NFL also spoke to his girlfriend, a source told Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Obviously nothing came of it, but it shows the investigation went pretty deep and wasn’t dismissed easily. In other Elliott news, we also heard earlier today that the Cowboys no longer believe they can put-off extending the young running back.
  • In case you missed it, Josh Doctson doesn’t expect to be back with the Redskins in 2020.

Bruce Arians Addresses Several Bucs Issues

Coming out of retirement after one year off, Bruce Arians took on an interesting challenge in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers own the NFC’s longest playoff drought at 11 seasons and have a quarterback in Jameis Winston who has not lived up to expectations.

The 66-year-old coach, the oldest to ever be hired, expressed optimism on several fronts recently. He broke down several aspects of the team, including Winston, in an expansive interview with the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.

The team did not draft an offensive lineman this offseason and signed only likely backup Earl Watford, but the team did reach an extension with left tackle Donovan Smith and pick up right tackle Demar Dotson‘s 2019 option. Dotson is the longest-tenured Buccaneer at 10 seasons. Dotson is in the final year of his contract — one that pays the 33-year-old right tackle just $3.975MM in base salary this season.

I’m comfortable. I think when we get those guys healthy, when those five guys are out there or four of the five, we’ve been pretty good,” Arians said, via Stroud, of the Bucs’ offensive front. “… “I’ll tell you the guy that probably did better than anybody is Demar Dotson. I mean, he’s competed harder. He’s a pleasant, pleasant surprise.

As for what the Bucs still need, Arians said edge rusher and offensive line swing men remain possibilities for outside pickups. Tampa Bay added Shaquil Barrett earlier this offseason but have Jason Pierre-Paul set to miss at least the first month of the season (and probably more time). The Bucs ranked 32nd in defensive DVOA last season.

There might be a free agent out there. Right now, I don’t know,” Arians said. “We’re always looking on the edge. I mean, defensively, we’re fine. … Offensively, we could use help in the offensive line for depth. You cannot have enough. So we’ll be looking probably around preseason (Game) 3 to see what is available, if we feel that need is still there.”

Pierre-Paul will not undergo surgery for the neck injury he sustained in a May car accident. Considering he registered 12.5 sacks in his first year as a Buccaneer, this obviously leaves a gaping hole on the team’s defense. Arians said recently a five- to six-month recovery may be in the cards for the 30-year-old edge player, which puts his 2019 season in question. In this latest round of comments, however, Arians said that while September is out of the question, he did not want to firmly indicate October would be as well.

I would think so,” Arians told Stroud when asked about if October will be the earliest the edge defender could return. “Just to be safe and not rush it. And knowing him, he’s one of those fast healers. So I hate to put a time limit on him but the earlier the better. As long as he’s healthy.”

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Latest On Jason Pierre-Paul

The prospect of Jason Pierre-Paul missing a sizable chunk of the 2019 season has been mentioned. Bruce Arians recently added fuel to it. Arians said JPP will need at least five, “maybe six” months to recover from the neck injury he suffered in a car accident a few weeks back.

He’s doing good; his spirits are good,” Arians said during an ESPN interview (via JoeBucsFan.com). “You know, it’s just one of those things, you just wait and wait and wait, and make sure the thing doesn’t displace and not have to have an operation. We got our fingers crossed and are praying for him all the time.”

Pierre-Paul will not undergo surgery, which would have ended his second Bucs season before it started, but Arians’ timetable will shelve the Pro Bowler until at least November and possibly into December. Depending on how Arians’ debut Tampa Bay season unfolds, it is certainly possible JPP does not play in 2019. JPP will turn 31 on New Year’s Day. He is due a non-guaranteed $12.5MM in 2020.

The Bucs replaced Gerald McCoy with Ndamukong Suh up front, but on the edge, they are considerably weakened without Pierre-Paul. Carl Nassib (career-high 6.5 sacks last season) returns and will play outside linebacker in base sets. So will offseason addition Shaquil Barrett. The Bucs used a fourth-round pick to select Iowa’s Anthony Nelson, who registered 23 sacks from 2016-18.

Edge rushers still available: Nick Perry, Derrick Morgan, Matt Longacre, Connor Barwin, Michael Johnson and 2018 Dolphin cogs William Hayes and Andre Branch. After the Suh deal, the Bucs do not have much in the way of cap space. And they have three draft picks still to sign.

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