Less than a year removed from a horrifying Fourth of July fireworks accident that left him without a right index finger and parts of other fingers on his right hand, Pierre-Paul returns to the place he never wanted to leave. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday Pierre-Paul will sign a one-year deal to stay in New York that can be worth up to $10.5 million, per a source informed of the move.
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Per Rapoport, Pierre-Paul turned down more money elsewhere. JPP then actually thanked the Arizona Cardinals by name in an Instagram post for perusing him in free agency. He likely did not want to be sandwiched into a budget contract that took advantage of a season during which he was only healthy enough to play eight games and register one sack. He also did not want to leave East Rutherford, which has become a home away from home for the Florida native. Pierre-Paul was a first-round pick back in 2010.
Pierre-Paul is just 27 and though he might never replicate the 16.5-sack season from 2011, he has established himself as one of the league's premiere run defenders and a true three-down option at defensive end. In that respect, he joins a very rare and exclusive category of rush ends who never need to leave the field.
The next year will be interesting for Pierre-Paul. Heading into a contract season in 2014, he logged 12.5 sacks and 53 tackles. He did not sign a franchise tender offered to him by the Giants before his accident, which resulted in a reduced deal.
Now, he will face a turning point season once again. Giants general manager Jerry Reese does not typically re-sign draft picks to large second contracts, with Ahmad Bradshaw, Will Beatty and Zak DeOssie being the lone exceptions.
The move gives retained defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo a bit of relief as he waits out the coming weeks of free agency. The Giants desperately needed to improve a pass rush that had some bright spots in 2015 -- like Robert Ayers -- but failed to replicate the success of teams past. Spagnuolo's creativity kept the team in several games, but he would likely prefer some muscle this time around.