New York Giants: Will Jason Pierre-Paul Live up to His Contract?
May 25, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) runs through blocking dummies during OTA practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Will Jason Pierre-Paul make the most of his New York Giants contract? Or make the franchise wish they never offered it in the first place?

For years Jerry Reese and the New York Giants have been playing a game of contractual chess with Jason Pierre-Paul.

This offseason the game finally concluded, when Pierre-Paul signed a massive four-year, $62 million deal. This included a whopping $40 million guaranteed.

That is a contract fit for one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, a player that could terrorize offensive linemen. Not a defensive end that in the past three seasons has averaged under seven sacks a year. But you have to take those numbers with a grain of salt, as you will soon find out.

But first, let’s be taken back to July 4, 2015, when Jason Pierre-Paul’s life was changed forever. In a freak accident caused by fireworks, JPP suffered irreparable damage to his right hand. It is a miracle that he has been able to come back and play at the level that he has with his injury.

While he showed in 2016 that he could effectively play despite his injury, he has other injury concerns that are more worrisome.

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Since 2013, Pierre-Paul has missed 17 regular season games, which averages out to about four games a season. That does not include his missed playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. Most of the games that he has missed have been due to his hand, but that is in the past. His most recent injury knocked him out of the Giants last four games of the regular season and their postseason matchup against the Green Bay Packers. It was a groin injury that required surgery in the offseason.

While a groin injury is the most recent ailment affecting JPP, it is one of a long list.

When the defensive end is on the field, there is no denying his talent. This past season according to PFF, he was the 13th-best defensive end in the NFL. His buddy on the defensive line, Oliver Vernon, was the 14th-best defensive end.

While it may appear as though Pierre-Paul has fallen off since his 16.5 sack, first team All-Pro selection in 2011, he has not. In that season according to Pro Football Focus, he recorded a grade of 86.8. In 2016, he posted a grade of 86.2, while he only played in 12 games, he still was not on par to match his stats from 2011. Sacks are just a number of pure luck, the play of Jason Pierre-Paul has been consistent while the numbers might not always show it.

For instance, according to PFF, the Giants defensive end had the 10th highest pass rushing grade out of all defensive ends. Yet, he only finished with seven sacks while numerous players that received lower grades than him had higher sack totals. NFL sack leader Vic Beasley had 15.5 sacks, yet according to PFF, he was the 29th best pass rusher. Even if you were to take Pierre-Paul’s sack totals and average it out for the season, he would still only get 8.75 sacks. Which you can decide to round up to nine or down to 8.5 sacks. Yet, even if he recorded nine sacks, the 28-year-old would have only been tied for 18th in the league in terms of sacks.

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Even though the former USF defensive end has seen his sack totals dip since it peaked in 2011, it does not mean much. He has continued to play at a high level, despite the decline in sacks.

To be honest, Jason Pierre-Paul will probably never live up to his $63 million contract. After all, players such as Everson Griffen, Michael Bennett, and Robert Quinn have all signed contracts that are worth less than $63 million. 

But, if Pierre-Paul is able to anchor his side of the defensive line, and the New York Giants are able to once again make the playoffs, then the contract will be worth every penny.

John is a 16 year old highschooler who is an avid sports fan. His favorite sports are football, baseball, and basketball.