The New York Giants have taken a $10.5 million gamble that Jason Pierre-Paul will have increased use of his permanently disfigured hand in 2016 and that he will more closely resemble the player who had 12.5 sacks in 2014 than the limited, club-wearing one who had just one sack in eight games last season.
Pierre-Paul on Sunday posted the video below on Instagram, showing him bench pressing without the use of any type of an aid to help him hold the bar. That is something he could not do last year after his Fourth of July fireworks mishap.
Pierre-Paul had surgery following the 2015 season aimed at improving the flexibiity in his damaged hand. Pierre-Paul spoke optimistically about the surgery when the Giants announced he would return to the team for the 2016 season.
"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."
During a recent interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Pierre-Paul went further. He said he will not need to wear a club on his hand next season.
"My hand is not going to be a problem," Pierre-Paul said. "I'll be playing without the club this year ... sky's the limit for me."
The Giants can only hope JPP can back that up. With only 23 sacks a season ago, Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon are being counted on to re-energize a pass rush that was non-existent for most of the 2015 season.