Second crack at Jason Pierre-Paul should intrigue Cardinals
By Jim Koch
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim would be wise to renew the interest he had in Jason Pierre-Paul back in 2016
Back in the spring of 2016, Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim was conducting a serious search for a bona fide pass-rusher. At the top of the executive’s list was free agent Jason Pierre-Paul, a two-time Pro Bowl performer from the New York Giants.
Despite what the Cardinals considered a fantastic offer, Pierre-Paul ultimately decided to remain with the Giants. Now, six years later, could Keim once again show interest in the 33-year-old outside linebacker?
Currently, the only proven edge-rusher on the Card’s defensive unit is Markus Golden, the 31-year-old who registered 11 sacks for the squad last fall. Sure, J.J. Watt can still be productive. However, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has not posted double-digit sacks since he totaled 16 for the Houston Texans back in 2018.
On the other hand, Pierre-Paul racked up 9.5 sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just two seasons ago. While that number may not jump off of the page, it could still be mighty enticing for a Redbirds defense that lost Chandler Jones to the Las Vegas Raiders back in March.
Jason Pierre-Paul could help the Arizona Cardinals offset the loss of Chandler Jones.
Ironically, Arizona acquired Jones back on March 15th, 2016, just days after Pierre-Paul rejected the club’s offer. The trade for Jones cost the organization a second-round draft pick and guard Jonathan Cooper, but the former New England Patriots star was well worth the compensation.
A torn rotator cuff and fractured finger limited Pierre-Paul to just 12 appearances in 2021.
However, the veteran is expected to be fully healthy by September after recording a disappointing 31 tackles and 2.5 sacks last fall. In 165 professional contests (137 starts), Pierre-Paul has been credited with 603 tackles, 91.5 sacks, four interceptions, and a whopping 164 quarterback hits.
The Baltimore Ravens hosted Pierre-Paul for a free-agent visit last month, but no deal was reached between the two parties. Baltimore may now be out of the running for the sack specialist after announcing this past Thursday that Justin Houston has agreed to return to the Ravens in 2022.
During the decade he has spent as the franchise’s top talent evaluator, Keim has perfected the art of the one-year “prove-it” contract. So perhaps Pierre-Paul will be the next in a long line of the GM’s outstanding summertime additions to the Cardinals roster.