Big Blue United

JPP – What Could Have Been

Photo Credit: Tannen Maury / EPA

By Timothy Cotugno – Big Blue United 3.24.18


Thursday morning, March 22nd. I, like most Giants fans in the Northeast, am digging out of yet another March Nor’easter. While I’m trying to clear 18 inches of heavy wet snow from my driveway, I feel my phone blowing up thinking it’s my work texting me to see when I’m getting in. Once I finally grab it, I see a bunch of texts from a few of my buddies: JPP was traded! I think it blindsided most of us but after the dust settled and the initial shock subsided, it’s a move that made so much sense. So much sense that I’m surprised it’s something that wasn’t even discussed as a possibility.

JPP is not nearly the player he once was, but he was being paid like it. His body is clearly breaking down. The hand is the obvious issue but it’s also the back, shoulder and abdominal injuries that have made a once elite athlete become an average player. He’s also a bad fit for the new scheme, and frankly a bad allocation of resources. This move frees up significant much needed cap space in 2019, when the Giants will hopefully be locking up Beckham and Collins long term, if not sooner. To be able to clear the contract and gain an asset with a high 3rd round pick from Tampa is a home run. You can argue this was Gettleman’s best move as GM since he took over.

As much as this was a move the Giants needed to make, it’s still bittersweet. JPP had the talent to be representing the New York Football Giants in Canton someday. Looking back to the early stages of his Giant career, I was convinced he was the next Reggie White. He had it all. He was such a rare talent with his size, strength and quickness. What he did when he was healthy and especially in those first few years was other-worldly. Even in his “down” years, he was one of the best run-stopping DEs in the NFL. Let’s also never forget that the Giants don’t have that 4th Lombardi in their trophy case without him.

When I look back at JPP’s Giants career, I’ll always think that true greatness was left on the table. The fireworks incident will unfortunately be his legacy. It’s a shame because by all accounts, he was a good teammate (Amukamara ice bath incident aside) and a good guy, who did a really dumb thing and paid for it dearly. It cost him a potentially Hall of Fame career. He managed to fight his way back to do enough to earn a contract that set him up financially for life. I give him all the credit in the world to work his way back after his horrendous injury. I’ll continue to root for him in Tampa, we all should.

Thanks for XLVI, JPP. Good luck in Tampa.

You can reach Tim Cotugno @ Follow him on Twitter