After a long ordeal, the New York Giants and two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul agreed to a one-year, incentive-filled contract on Tuesday. The 26-year-old has been inactive in 2015 following a July 4 fireworks accident that caused serious damage to his right hand.
The deal is a long way off from the $14.8 million franchise tender that Pierre-Paul did not sign in the spring. According to The New York Daily News, performance bonuses will allow him to recover some of the money he lost. The Giants had pulled their $60 million long-term contract offer after his right index finger was amputated among other injuries to the hand.
When Pierre-Paul returns to action is another story. On Wednesday, he joined the Giants' practice for the first time in months. According to ESPN, the Giants hope Pierre-Paul could be back in shape by Week 10.
“He’s been working, and we’ll see how fast this comes along,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “He’s excited about being here. He’s anxious to get started. We’re all rooting for him to be honest with you. He’s had a very traumatic experience and he’s done what appears to be an outstanding job preparing himself. He’s mentally very upbeat. His attitude is outstanding.
“He’s anxious to play right now, to be honest. But they’re going to go relatively slow on that.’’
The Giants received a two-game roster exemption for Pierre-Paul, meaning they won’t immediately have to use a roster spot on him as the training and medical staff makes their evaluations and he gets on the field for football drills.
“I’m getting ready to do what I have to do,” said Pierre-Paul. “I’ve been training down in South Florida with my trainer. Every day, I got up at 7:30 and lifted weights, I’ve been doing what I have to do to stay in football shape.”
Shedding blocks and making tackles will undoubtedly be affected in some way, although to what degree is unknown. Pierre-Paul specializes in rushing the passer, an area where the Giants have struggled this season. After seven games, the Giants rank No. 31 in the NFL with just nine sacks. In his first five NFL seasons, Pierre-Paul racked up 42 sacks, including 12.5 last season.
“It is just good to have Jason back in our building,” said Coughlin. “You can feel his energy and his desire to overcome what he has had to endure since July.”
The Giants (4-3) own a slim lead in the NFC East. They have one less loss than the Washington Redskins (3-4), Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) and Dallas Cowboys (2-4).