Bob Glauber of Newsday reports, citing a league source familiar with the team’s situation, that the Giants are “cautiously optimistic” that DE Jason Pierre-Paul can return at some point before the end of the regular season.
According to Glauber, the possibility exists that Pierre-Paul could play in the final four games or even longer.
Glauber’s source said that damage to JPP’s middle finger is more extensive than previously thought, but they still believe that it won’t prevent him from being able to play as long as his skin grafts are strong enough.
“If he gets back for four games, that would be good,” Glauber’s source said. “If it’s more, that would be a bonus.”
Jason Cole of B/R reported a few days ago that JPP expects to return to the team at some point in the next two weeks, and believes he’s ready to play the remainder of the season.
In the event the Giants have a losing record by the time JPP reports, Cole mentioned that there’s still some question as to whether or not the Giants will clear him physically, which could set up a battle between the two parties.
A few weeks back, Cole reported that Pierre-Paul’s camp was concerned that the Giants could essentially “squat” on his rights for the entire season by placing him on the non-football injury list, which could lead to New York retaining him for the 2016 season on a first-year franchise tender.
This could create a situation where JPP may request to meet with an independent doctor and receive medical clearance from him or her.
New York wound up placing JPP on the reserve/franchise player list a few weeks ago. It’s worth mentioning that while he’s on this list, JPP won’t count against the team’s 53-man roster until he’s activated.
Pierre-Paul, 26, played out his five-year, $20.05 million rookie contract that included $11,629,807 million guaranteed. The Giants wound up using their franchise tag on Pierre-Paul back in early March, which will pay him a fully guaranteed salary of $14.813 million for the 2015 season.
However, Pierre-Paul is currently not being paid, and his compensation will need to be addressed before he returns to the field, as the Giants could place him on the non-football injury list if he were to sign his franchise tender.
In 2014, Pierre-Paul recorded 77 tackles, 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a recovery over the course of 16 games. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 7 defensive end in a 4-3 system out of 59 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Pierre-Paul and the Giants as the news is available.