Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ edge rusher and dominant force Jason Pierre-Paul posted on his Instagram account that he was having knee surgery. The eleven-year veteran said he wanted to “get this s--- done so I can be 100% next year and not 70%. Now that’s scary!”
#GoBucs LB Jason Pierre-Paul posts on Instagram that he’s having another knee procedure. Could be a clean up but we will get an update later today from Bruce Arians and Jason Licht when they have a Zoom call at 3 pm. pic.twitter.com/GnFsxFfxJE— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) February 24, 2021
JPP played in all sixteen regular season games as well as all four playoff games for the Buccaneers in 2020, finishing with 68 tackles, ten tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, seventeen quarterback hits, nine passes defensed, and two interceptions. All that following a season where he only played in ten games due to the neck injury he suffered in a car accident back in June 2019.
If JPP was able to do all of that at “70%” as he put it, then you have to agree that it’s scary thinking he will be back at 100% in 2021.
The question is - will Shaq Barrett be the guy on the other side of him?
JPP is set to make $12.5-million dollars in 2021 - which would be the last year of his deal with the Buccaneers - so Pierre-Paul is a prime candidate for a contract extension and restructure to free up some cap space. At only 32 years old, JPP still has some solid pass rushing years left in him and it’s hard to imagine the Bucs wanting to let him go.
As the contract and cap issues for the Bucs continue to evolve, keep your eye on JPP for not just his recovery progress but also his contract situation. If the Bucs can extend him and defer some of his $12.5-million dollar cap hit over a few years, all the more likely they can use those savings to bring back Shaquil Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, or Lavonte David for another championship run in 2021 and beyond.