EAST RUTHERFORD — The New York Giants are convinced star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is fully healed from a fireworks accident that severely damaged his right hand.
They believe that so much, they have given JPP a four-year contract worth about $68 million.
“This is where I wanted to be,” Pierre-Paul told the Giants’ website Friday. “I couldn’t imagine me being anywhere else.”
Two summers ago, on the Fourth of July, Pierre-Paul’s right hand was severely damaged in a fireworks accident in Florida.
He missed the first half of that season but returned for the final eight games. He started all 12 games he played last year and had a strong finish.
The 28-year-old Pierre-Paul said: “I’m back for four years, and I’m ready to get after it.”
“It means a lot to me, because I started here, and, obviously, I want to finish here,” the two-time Pro Bowler said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys come and go, especially in my (2010 draft) class. I’m the only one left in my class here. It means a lot.
“We won a Super Bowl here, and I’m looking forward to putting a fifth trophy in the case.”
The team gave Pierre-Paul the franchise tag last month for the second time in three years.
“We’re happy to get a long-term deal with Jason,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “Not only is he one of our best players, he is one of our leaders.”
The Giants rebuilt their defense last year and went 11-5, making the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2011 NFL title.
Pierre-Paul missed the last four regular-season games and the playoff loss to Green Bay with a core muscle injury that required surgery. He finished the season with seven sacks, 53 tackles (35 solo), eight passes defensed, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery he returned for a TD.
New York also re-signed backup quarterback Josh Johnson and guard John Jerry.
Mostly used on the right side, Jerry is entering his eighth pro season and fourth with the Giants. He played his first four in Miami.
Johnson did not get into a game last season and was active for only four behind the durable Manning.
Former Jets quarterback Geno Smith agreed to terms with the Giants as well, a person with direct knowledge of the move told The Associated Press. The person spoke anonymously because the deal has not been finalized pending Smith passing a physical.