Jason Pierre-Paul gets paid very well to stick his hand in the proverbial dirt and get after the quarterback. But after his self-inflicted fireworks injury on July 4, there’s no telling if or when the star defensive end will get that opportunity again.
JPP suffered a hand injury Saturday night while attempting to light fireworks, and needed hospitalization. Multiple reports state that he will not lose his hand – and it won’t likely affect his career going forward – as he reportedly escaped serious injury by burning his fingertips and part of his hand. But for the 26-year-old, to do something as impetuous – and dangerous – while he’s yet to gain the long-term financial stability he seeks, is something the Giants will need to re-evaluate as the two sides continue to negotiate a long-term deal.
Undoubtedly, general manager Jerry Reese will need to show some pause in offering Pierre-Paul the kind of money that only franchise players receive, as the Big Blue brass will have some reservations in trusting the rash Pierre-Paul with that kind of money – and the responsibility that comes along with it.
There were multiple tweets on Saturday from neighbors of Pierre-Paul that said he procured a large amount of fireworks for a Fourth of July celebration at or near his home in South Florida. Apparently, the fireworks were transported via a rented U-Haul van by Pierre-Paul, who proudly posted an Instagram video displaying his efforts.
Such irresponsibility could potentially impact Pierre-Paul's future with the team. The Giants used their franchise tag on the two-time Pro Bowler in March, but he’s yet to sign his $14.813 million tender, and therefore is not currently under contract. The two sides have until July 15 to come to an agreement on a long-term deal, otherwise, Pierre-Paul will be forced to play under the one-year franchise tender this upcoming season, or not play at all – providing he’ll even be ready to play.
Pierre-Paul missed both the voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) and the mandatory minicamp, meaning he was already behind the 8-ball in learning new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. And now with this harrowing setback, there’s no telling when he’ll get caught up to speed.
The flighty defensive end had a nice rebound 2014 season when he started all 16 games for the first time in his career and finished with 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Such a year featured a No. 7 ranking of all 4-3 defensive ends in Pro Football Focus' ratings.
Clearly he’s needed to help revive Big Blue’s anemic pass rush, but management was already leery of offering anything long-term due to concerns of his lingering back issue. And despite last season’s resurgence, Pierre-Paul’s play was spotty in prior seasons.
Without Pierre-Paul, the supporting cast of pass rushers isn’t so daunting. There’s potential in a few like young vets Damontre Moore and Kerry Wynn, and rookie Owa Odighizuwa. Older veterans like Robert Ayers and Pierre-Paul’s college teammate, George Selvie, could help as well. But none possess Pierre-Paul’s natural ability. Spagnuolo wouldn’t go as far as stating that Pierre-Paul means everything to his pass rush, but he doesn’t have to, because it’s obvious his star defensive end is the key to everything the Giants have been trying to do on that side of the ball.
So, instead of signing big-money deals and cashing checks, Pierre-Paul will be lucky enough to even use his mangled hand any time soon. Such haphazardness can definitely have an effect on not only his financial gains, but the way management and his teammates view him. Because if he can’t be mature enough and show good decision-making off the field, they’ll always wonder if he can be the accountable leader the defense needs him to be on the field.