That was former New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who will be at MetLife Stadium on Sunday as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, issuing a warning on Wednesday to his old team.
“Honestly, I had this game checked off since I left there, so emotions running big. I’m coming, man. I’m bringing the house down,” was Pierre-Paul’s full quote.
The Giants, of course, traded their 2010 first-round pick to the Buccaneers in March as part of their roster re-shaping with new GM Dave Gettleman and new head coach Pat Shurmur.
Pierre-Paul was irked that his time in New York ended with a simple phone call from Gettleman.
“That’s the way they went about it with a phone call, and that was it. Never heard from anyone else but Dave, and Eli (Manning) called me, as well, but other than that, that was it,” Pierre-Paul said.
“I won’t say hurt. Just the fact that the only thing I got was a phone call, you know what I’m saying? I didn’t speak to no owners or nothing. Obviously I gave a hard eight years at the New York Giants and won a Super Bowl there, and the only thing I got was a phone call? I won’t say I was hurt, but it was just shocking.”
Pierre-Paul is playing well
The 29-year-old Pierre-Paul already has eight sacks, a half-sack shy of the team-leading 8.5 he had for the Giants a season ago and two shy of the third double-digit sack season of his nine-year career.
“I’m playing great ball, obviously,” Pierre-Paul told New York media on Wednesday.
“I don’t have a chip on my shoulder. Obviously, New York felt like I couldn’t get the job done, I don’t know who makes those decisions, but that’s the decision they made and I got traded.”
Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter on Wednesday praises both Pierre-Paul’s play and his presence.
“This guy works his tail off every day, helps the young guys and then his leadership, the way he’s shared his experience and his knowledge with not only our defensive linemen but also our offensive linemen, he’s been very outspoken as a leader in a positive way,” Koetter said. “He was very near to being elected captain, just barely missed out, and he will be a captain for this game. The intangible stuff he’s brought, we knew the physical stuff, but the intangibles he’s brought have been above and beyond expectation.”
Did the Giants make the right move?
It is easy, far too easy in fact, to simply point to Pierre-Paul having eight sacks and the Giants having only 10 as a team, and say that the Giants made a mistake,
In my view, despite the results of the first half-season since the trade the Giants did the right thing.
Yes, Pierre-Paul is putting up good numbers for the Buccaneers and he might just make life miserable for Eli Manning on Sunday, but it is still far better to move on from a player — especially an incredibly expensive one — a year too early than to try and do it a year too late.
There really is no guarantee Pierre-Paul, who would seem an odd fit in a base 3-4 defense, would be doing for the Giants what he is doing for the Buccaneers. Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t. We will never know.
By moving on from Pierre-Paul the Giants got out from under the final three seasons of his four-year, $62 million contract. They saved only $2.5 million under the cap this season, but will save $14.5 million in 2019 and $12.5 million in 2020.
That money has already helped them sign Odell Beckham Jr. and could help them sign Landon Collins or other younger free agents long term as they continue trying to re-shape the roster.
Besides, the third-round pick the Giants from Tampa Bay (No. 69 overall) turned into defensive lineman B.J. Hill. A starting defensive lineman, Hill has looked like a building block player for the Giants through their first nine games.