Friday, February 7, 2014

How Jason Pierre-Paul affects NY Giants' plans

New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul tweeted this photo of himself encased in some sort of giant, presumably therapeutic thermos with the all-caps assertion that "I WILL BE READY FOR 2014 SEASON." I don't know exactly what sort of cryogenic effort the photo depicts, but Pierre-Paul had no shortage of physical ailments in 2013. Back surgery in June limited him early in the season, and a midseason shoulder injury basically erased the second half of his season. Being ready for the 2014 season would be a notable accomplishment, and his ability to pull it off is very important for the Giants' short-term and long-term plans.

Pierre-Paul is four years into his NFL career, and to this point he has had one utterly brilliant year -- his 16.5-sack 2011 season, which culminated in a Super Bowl title. The year before was a rookie season he spent learning. The year after was a solid year in which he saw constant double-teams and his stats suffered. This past year was a lost year due to the injuries.

So the Giants have themselves a 25-year-old pass-rusher they believe (because they have seen him do it) can be one of the very best in the league. But with one year left before he's eligible for free agency, Pierre-Paul presents something of a conundrum for the Giants as they make their plans for 2014 and beyond. By this point, they'd love to have been in a position where extending him beyond 2014 would have been a no-brainer. Had he continued to develop on his 2011 track, he'd be established by now as a franchise cornerstone -- a foundation piece for their pass rush.

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