Jason Pierre-Paul is receiving the accolades he deserves, and he may receive a well-deserved Super Bowl ring in the process.
The ex-Giants’ journey into Sunday night’s game has all the makings of a true Super Bowl-Disney-like happy ending.
It can be one the Giants had envisioned for their 2010 first-round defensive lineman from South Florida.
It’s hard to write a better script than being a Super Bowl champion in your home state and on your home field.
Like he has throughout his 10-year career, Paul is dealing with the present. It all has been about the big moment, whether good or bad.
When GM Dave Gettleman took over after the 2017 season, Paul was basically moved for cap space due to his recently signed, four-year, $62 million extension then from ex-GM Jerry Reese.
Paul’s production had slipped from a fireworks accident that cost him the use of three fingers in a 2015 fireworks accident. He had seven sacks (second on team) in 2016 and had a team-leading eight in 2017.
The Giants received a third- and fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft for Paul resulting in defensive tackle BJ Hill and quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
Hill’s presence on a consistent basis hasn’t materialized. Remember Lauletta? He was supposed to be an heir apparent to Manning, and wound up being arrested on a traffic violation in October 2018 before he was jettisoned. He currently is on the Browns’ taxi squad.
Ironically since Paul left, the Giants have been trying to fill his void, and they are finally headed in the right direction.
Paul made an impact in his first season in Tampa, where he was reborn with 12.5 sacks. Unfortunately, his rebirth was a fleeting one.
He was involved in a car accident in which he suffered a fractured neck, and his career was in jeopardy.
Paul missed the first six games, but he persevered and returned to record 8.5 sacks over the last 10 games on a defense that began to metastasize into a championship one.
Under coordinator Todd Bowles, Paul has blossomed into one of the pieces in a multiple scheme in which he has four interceptions dropping off the line. He has 9.5 sacks, 55 tackles, and two fumble recoveries.
He led a timely charge with a pair of sacks against Green Bay in the championship game last weekend.
More importantly, the 32-year-old has developed into a team leader, and was recognized for his efforts with a Pro Bowl selection.
His performance earned him a Pro Bowl honor.
Paul will enter the final year of a two-year, $25 million pact in 2021, and he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
That could be a difficult choice for Tampa then, as they basically have a young nucleus and awesome free-agent issues to address this offseason.
Yet, this again is about the present for Paul.
And late Sunday evening it could be another momentous moment.