Buccaneers news: Jason Pierre-Paul shares inspirational message on Instagram
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Buccaneers’ Jason Pierre-Paul shares inspirational message on Instagram

Jason Pierre-Paul, Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul took to Instagram to caution against “playing both sides of the fence” on Tuesday.

Pierre-Paul, who at one point hinted he might not be re-signing with the Buccaneers, will indeed return to Tampa after signing a two-year deal this offseason.

Instead of “playing both sides,” Pierre-Paul opted to return to Tampa, and he will now have a chance to compete for a team likely to contend in the NFC after the addition of Tom Brady.

Pierre-Paul proved himself a critical figure as part of Tampa’s menacing pass-rush unit last season. Despite being limited to ten games, Pierre-Paul still tallied 8.5 sacks and nine tackles for a loss, as well as two forced fumbles. Five of those 8.5 sacks came in the final two weeks, in which Pierre-Paul absolutely dominated the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons, respectively.

Re-signing Pierre-Paul should prove very consequential for the Bucs. They had already used the franchise tag to retain 2019 sack leader Shaquil Barrett, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh took a pay cut to return to Tampa. In other words, the entire starting front remains intact for 2020, which will likely be vital to the Buccaneers’ success.

Tampa Bay’s defense ranked fifth in terms of defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA), according to Football Outsiders, and they were the stingiest run defense in the NFL. The Bucs’ defense also inherited the worst starting field position of any unit in the NFL, though that should change with Brady under center (New England’s defense had the best starting position for reference).

The Buccaneers will need Pierre-Paul to remain healthy in 2020, though he is likely more motivated by the opportunity to win a Super Bowl.