The Baltimore Ravens are signing veteran defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, per USA Today’s Josina Anderson, bringing much-needed pass-rushing depth to their defense after outside linebacker Steven Means tore his Achilles in Week 2.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Pierre-Paul signed a one-year contract worth up to $5.5 million, though his 2022 salary cap hit has not been revealed.
Pierre-Paul completed his second visit to the Ravens’ facility on Tuesday after an initial visit back in June. The two sides could not come to an agreement during the summer, but since then, the Ravens have lost virtually all of their edge-rushing depth. Justin Houston and Odafe Oweh are the only healthy players on the 53-man roster with undrafted rookie Jeremiah Moon and recently-signed veteran Brandon Copeland on the practice squad.
The 33-year-old Pierre-Paul brings 91.5 career sacks to Baltimore, but only recorded 2.5 last season while playing through a shoulder injury that he called “by far the worst” of his career.
In his previous three seasons, though, Pierre-Paul notched 30.5 sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, earning a Pro Bowl nod and his second Super Bowl ring along the way.
His pedigree of consistent pass-rushing production throughout his career will be a boon to Baltimore’s defense, as is his experience on multiple teams chasing championships.
The 12-year veteran has only finished with fewer than 40 quarterback pressures in a season three times, per Pro Football Focus, all of which were due to injury.
When Will JPP Debut?
Pierre-Paul’s injury history is certainly a concern – his recovery from surgery in February to repair a torn rotator cuff could very well have been the hold-up in June – but he’s come back from multiple major injuries in his career already.
It remains to be seen if Pierre-Paul will be active for the Ravens’ Week 3 matchup with the New England Patriots (who Pierre-Paul bested for his first Super Bowl ring as a member of the New York Giants). He shouldn’t have an issue getting up to speed with the defensive playbook, but he did not participate in training camp or the preseason, so his physical ramp-up may take time.
The Ravens’ dire need at the position will likely press Pierre-Paul into action in some capacity in Week 3. He could avoid the more physically-punishing Patriots rushing attack and instead provide relief to Oweh and Houston in obvious passing scenarios.
The Ravens will certainly want Pierre-Paul ready to play by Week 4, when Baltimore hosts Josh Allen and the red-hot Buffalo Bills.
Ravens ‘Hopeful’ on Tyus Bowser’s Progress
The Ravens are also expecting additional reinforcements to their pass rush in the coming weeks in the form of Tyus Bowser, who is recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in January.
Per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, the team is “hopeful that Bowser will be ready to go shortly after he’s eligible to return.” The Ravens placed Bowser on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list during the preseason, sidelining him until at least Week 5.
Signing Pierre-Paul gives the Ravens a little bit of breathing room with Bowser’s recovery. They won’t need to rush him back to the field, and even when he does return, Pierre-Paul’s presence will help keep Bowser’s workload low as he ramps up during the season.