INDIANAPOLIS -- It's become clear over the past couple of days at the NFL combine that the New York Giants would like to re-sign free-agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Whether they can agree to a contract before free agency opens March 9 and other teams can come in and potentially pay him more than they're willing to pay him remains to be seen. But after coach Ben McAdoo praised Pierre-Paul on Wednesday, Giants GM Jerry Reese had some encouraging words about him Thursday.
"Well, we know him better, I think, than anybody else would know him," Reese said. "We're hopeful that this procedure he had after the season helps him with respect to the hand injury that he has. I know he's working hard at it, and after you look at that injury, people like to throw the word 'miracle' around, but I think it's a miracle that he was able to walk out there and play eight games for us. It's really unbelievable after you see what happened to his hand."
Pierre-Paul lost his right index finger and severely damaged the rest of his right hand in a July 4 fireworks accident, but returned to play the second half of the season for the Giants and impressed them with his attitude and performance. He had surgery after the season to try to improve the flexibility in his middle finger and enable him to play without the heavy club wrap he used on his right arm in games.
Obviously, it remains to be seen whether the surgery had the desired effect and what kind of player the Giants or any other team could expect Pierre-Paul to be going forward. But the Giants are making very public their desire to bring him back.
Pierre-Paul and fellow starting defensive end Robert Ayers are both free agents, and the market for pass-rushers thins out very quickly if the Giants can't bring either or both back. Even if they keep both, they're likely to address the position in the draft, as they need long-term solutions as well.