After a change of scenery, Jason Pierre-Paul finds himself a key member in a dominant Buccaneers front seven.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have high expectations for Jason Pierre-Paul. The South Florida product will join a talented group of defensive linemen which will carry the Tampa Bay defensive unit.
Since the fireworks accident which blew apart Pierre-Paul’s hand in 2015, he hasn’t been able to rekindle the success he had early in his career. In hopes that the 29-year-old can recapture his glory days with Big Blue, general manager Jason Licht pulled the trigger on a deal to send him to Tampa.
Pierre-Paul will get a fresh start in a new city with a talented defensive line. He may not be the player he was back in 2011 where he racked up 16.5 sacks, but he could still bring the pressure on the outside.
Over the past two seasons, Pierre-Paul has 15.5 sacks and 121 combined tackles. By no means was he traded due to lack of production. The Giants desperately needed to free up cap space and plan on changing to a 3-4 scheme, which doesn’t fit Pierre-Paul’s strengths
Typically, when a player is in a contract year, they tend to see a big boost in their numbers. Now, although Pierre-Paul’s contract runs through the 2020 season, Tampa Bay can get out of his contract next season with no dead cap space.
A strong 2018 campaign could force Licht and the Bucs front office to keep him in Tampa for another two seasons. Money talks and it should be no different for JPP who fought hard to sign the big money deal with New York in 2017.
There may not have been a better fit for Pierre-Paul. The Buccaneers front seven may be one of the best in football. Teams won’t be able to focus in on him because of Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David alongside him. If teams do decide to focus in on JPP, it will just open the door for everyone else.
From a pass-rushing standpoint, defensive coordinator Mike Smith will rely heavily on Pierre-Paul. Vinny Curry has done a solid job rushing the quarterback but he hasn’t recorded over four sacks since the 2014 season. Noah Spence is another edge rusher who hasn’t lived up to the hype yet.
A consistent veteran like Pierre-Paul could stand out and rack up the sacks for the Buccaneers. It’s important to remember Tampa only recorded 22 sacks last season, the worst mark in the NFL.