Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2022 Free Agent Profile: OLB Jason Pierre-Paul

Analyzing the impending free agency of Tampa Bay Buccaneers edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in addition to replacing the greatest quarterback of all time, are tasked with addressing the status of 26 free agents this offseason, including 10 starters.

Due to a lack of significant cap space — currently hovering just over $3 million, per Over the Cap — it won't be easy, if even possible, for the Bucs to bring all 26 players back, or even all of their first-teamers who are set to hit the market.

AllBucs is creating profiles for each of Tampa Bay's imminent free agents for the 2022 offseason. After examining where wide receiver Chris Godwin, cornerback Carlton Davis III and running back Leonard Fournette stand on the market, we turn to three-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl Champion Jason Pierre-Paul.

We'll discuss the value each player provides the team and try our best to predict whether or not Tampa Bay will prioritize bringing them back.

OLB Jason Pierre-Paul

2021 stats (playoffs included): 12 games, 33 tackles, three TFLs, three sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, four pass breakups

Previous contract: Two years, $27 million

Spotrac market value and projected contract: $10 million annually; two years, $20 million

The Bucs have been considered big winners for the magic they've created in the last few offseasons.

Obviously, the acquisition of now-retired quarterback Tom Brady proved monumental as they surged from mediocrity to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in just one season with Brady at the helm.

That was followed by the cap adjustment wizardry that Jason Licht was able to create in 2021 to retain all 22 starters on a Super Bowl-winning roster.

It aligned the Buccaneers as a contender to repeat.

However, while the offseason work from Tampa Bay has surely not gone unnoticed, an underrated piece to the puzzle was their decision to retain defensive end/outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul on a lucrative deal of $27 million over two years.

Playing with the Bucs since 2018, Pierre-Paul has used his time in central Florida to resurrect his career after a firework accident derailed a promising start with the New York Giants.

As a veteran piece on a stout front seven during the Bucs championship run in 2020, Pierre-Paul made waves getting after quarterbacks off the edge in Todd Bowles 3-4 defense.

Totaling 9.5 sacks in 2020, Pierre-Paul proved Licht and the Bucs organization right for re-signing him. He took a step back production-wise as a pass rusher in 2021 but continued to produce heavily against the run while simultaneously dealing with a shoulder injury that recently required surgery.

His impending free agency marks the question: Could Pierre-Paul continue his stint with Buccaneers going forward?

The short answer: Yes, a return is very possible.

The long answer: Well, it’s complicated.

Slated to earn a respectable salary according to Spotrac's market value estimate for the 33-year old, Pierre-Paul could be in for his last big payday as he nears the end of his prime.

Although, following his downtick as a pass rusher and the shoulder injury, the interest he garners may be minimal. That reality would bode well for Tampa’s chances to retain the outside linebacker. 

But, as many others will have to do if they want to stay with the Bucs, he would have to take a considerable pay cut.

In this scenario, he would serve as a valuable piece for the Bucs to bring back at a reasonable, cap-friendly price for continuity, lessening the turnover on defense as they begin to transition away from the Brady era.

If he doesn't suit up in red, white and pewter next season, Pierre-Paul could prove to be a factor in another playoff contender.

As for Tampa Bay, they would look to 2021 first-round NFL Draft pick Joe Tyron-Shoyinka — who flashed promise in relief of Pierre-Paul last season — to fill the sizable hole on the edge opposite Shaquil Barrett.

Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.