The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have yet to see new defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul at Organized Team Activities, but the team doesn’t seem too concerned about it.
The Bucs traded for the former Giant in March, sending a 2018 third-round pick (No. 69 overall) to New York and also agreeing to swap fourth-round picks as part of the deal.
But Pierre-Paul has spent his days working out on his own during the voluntary part of minicamp.
“We’d love to have everybody here. That’s a perfect world, and we don’t live in a perfect world, unfortunately,” said Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter, per ESPN.
Koetter and teammates say they’ve been in touch with Pierre-Paul during camp.
Fellow defensive end Vinny Curry, who joined the Bucs as a free agent this offseason, expects a seamless transition when mandatory minicamp starts on Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, he’s gonna fit right in because of the type of player he is,” said Curry. “Just because he’s not here doesn’t mean we don’t talk to him. It ain’t like he’s giving us the cold shoulder, but at the end of the day, he’s in tune with his teammates and you know what type of player he is.”
“He’s been top five, top 10 at his position for a very long time, so who am I or anybody to question him?” Curry asked. “You know what he’s gonna bring next week.”
Pierre-Paul, 29, had 68 tackles, 8.0 sacks and two forced fumbles last season in his first 16-game campaign since losing his right index finger and parts of at least two other fingers in a fireworks accident on July 4, 2015. He had played eight games in 2015 after the incident and 12 games in 2016, missing time after having sports hernia surgery.
Pierre-Paul is from Deerfield Beach, Fla., and attended South Florida in Tampa.
Pierre-Paul, a two-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2011, had 58 sacks and 13 forced fumbles across his eight-year career with the Giants. He signed a four-year, $62 million deal with New York prior to last season that will pay him $11.25 million in base salary in 2018, with a $12.5 million cap hit.
The 2010 first-round pick will join new additions Curry and Beau Allen and star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on the Buccaneers’ defensive line.
–Field Level Media