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Jason Pierre-Paul returns to Bucs with a two-year, $27 million deal

After using the franchise tag on Shaquil Barrett, the Bucs re-sign their bookend pass rusher
Though he missed six games last season, linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (90), right, still recorded 8.5 sacks in 10 games while adding 27 tackles.
Though he missed six games last season, linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (90), right, still recorded 8.5 sacks in 10 games while adding 27 tackles. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Mar. 16, 2020

TAMPA — Just more than three hours after the Bucs used their franchise player tag on linebacker Shaquil Barrett, they re-signed his tag-team partner and bookend pass rusher.

Jason Pierre-Paul agreed to a two-year, $27 million contract, helping Tampa Bay retain two important pieces to their front seven, the Bucs confirmed.

Pierre-Paul missed the first six games of 2019 with a cervical fracture he sustained in a one-car accident near his home in south Florida last May. He returned with a vengeance, recording 8.5 sacks in 10 games while adding 27 tackles.

Pierre-Paul took to Instagram to announce his return. ““I just wanted to tell y’all the deal just got done," Pierre-Paul said. "Your boy going to be in Tampa for another two years.” Then Pierre-Paul shouted to a neighbor: “Two years! I got another two years in Tampa!”

Pierre-Paul, 31, represents more than just a threat to opposing quarterbacks. He has been a indefatigable worker and one of the biggest leaders on the Bucs defense. In fact, despite a series of injuries in his career, he rarely wants to come off the football field.

After Barrett raced out of the gate with nine sacks in his first four games, teams began to rotate more blockers to his side. Barrett had only one sack in his next three games. After Pierre-Paul returned, teams had to worry about both outside pass rushers and Barrett finished strong, recording 10.5 sacks over his final 10 games.

Coach Bruce Arians’ priority was retaining as many defensive free agents as possible and that started with Barrett and Pierre-Paul. The Bucs also plan to attempt to re-sign defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and outside linebacker Carl Nassib.

Pierre-Paul was acquired in a trade with the New York Giants prior to the 2018 season and led the Bucs with 12.5 sacks, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to post double-digit sacks since Simeon Rice in 2005.

Following the accident, the Bucs voided the final year of Pierre-Paul’s deal and restructured the pact that was heavily based on playing time incentives, which he earned. But the move made Pierre-Paul an unrestricted free agent, if only for a few hours during the negotiating period.

By guaranteeing Barrett $15.8 million and the $13.5 million per year salary for Pierre-Paul, that leaves the Bucs with about $53 million of salary-cap space while still needing to sign a quarterback.