Jason Pierre-Paul signed a contract with the Giants for the 2016 season on Wednesday, which he believes will give him plenty of time to re-establish his value among pass rushers in the NFL.
“I have one year to prove myself, but all I need is one,” Pierre-Paul told Giants.com moments after signing his contract, which could be worth up to $10.5 million. “I appreciate the Giants allowing me to come back and play here. But it was my decision . . . I have unfinished business.”
After playing just nine games last year following a July 4 fireworks accident that mangled his right hand, Pierre-Paul was slated to become a free agent on Wednesday. The defensive end was offered more money to play for the Cardinals, but decided to remain with the Giants.
His contract, according to USA Today, includes $8.5 million guaranteed ($4.25 million base salary, $4.25 million signing bonus) with incentives worth $2 million ($1.2 in per-game bonuses, up to $500,000 based on his sack total, and a workout bonus).
If he can return to form in 2016, he potentially could be a free agent at this time next year as a 28-year-old. Then again, if he returns to form, the Giants likely will lock him up either with a long-term deal or by using the franchise tag on him as they planned to do last season before the accident.
Pierre-Paul has undergone offseason surgery he hopes will help with the use of his hand, in particular his middle finger, which is missing the tip. He had to play with a heavy club wrap on the hand in 2015, which limited him.
“It’s definitely going to help,” he said of the surgery. “I’ll be able to grab. Now I’ll be able to open my hand up. My fingers are straight, and I’ll be fine. You’re limited with the club. I’d rather play with one finger than have a club on.”
Pierre-Paul said he is looking forward to his first training camp with the Giants since 2013. He missed all of 2014’s camp after back surgery and last year with the hand injury. He also will be part of a new defense that includes two top-tier defensive linemen the Giants acquired on the first day of free agency, Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon.
“I want to be a part of the turnaround.” Pierre-Paul said. “I want to bring my game to another level. With the injury I had, I want to show people that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, you can overcome it in life.”