In a move that could provide a hint to the New York Giants’ thinking in next month’s NFL draft, the team traded veteran defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday. In exchange for Pierre-Paul and a fourth-round draft pick, the Giants will receive Tampa Bay’s third- and fourth-round picks. The trade gives New York eight picks in the draft, with six of them coming in the first four rounds and four of them in the first 69 picks.
The Giants have the No. 2 pick in the draft and reportedly list Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson and N.C. state defensive end Bradley Chubb as the highest-rated players on their draft board (the New York Post says the team likely will not take a quarterback). With Pierre-Paul out of the way, the Giants could take Chubb and insert him straight into their starting lineup.
“They view the drop-off at defensive end after Chubb as much greater than the drop-off at guard after Nelson,” the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz wrote Tuesday. “The Giants are confident they can get a starting-caliber guard in the second round, with the 34th overall pick. They believe Chubb stands alone as the best all-around defensive end in this draft.”
A two-time Pro Bowler and first-team all-pro in 2011, Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated after a fireworks accident on July 4, 2015. He returned to play eight games that season and, wearing a custom-made glove, has started 28 of 32 games the past two seasons with 15 sacks combined over that span. Pierre-Paul signed a four-year contract with the Giants before last season — a move by former GM Jerry Reese that raised eyebrows — and has three years and $39.5 million left on that deal.
The Giants will take a $17.5 million dead-cap hit by trading Pierre-Paul, a sign that new GM Dave Gettleman is looking to remake the roster quickly, even if that means incurring temporary salary-cap pain. The Bucs, meanwhile, get a pass-rusher to boost a remade defensive line after registering an NFL-worst 22 sacks last season. Pierre-Paul also is a Florida native.
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