Jason Pierre-Paul: 'Hand is perfectly fine,' won't wear club in 2016

The Giants have been busy little beavers during the first week of free agency bolstering a defense that ranked 30th last season, according to Football Outsiders' metrics. Former Dolphins pass rusher Olivier Vernon is the marquee name, signing a five-year, $85 million deal with $52.5 million guaranteed. But it's a familiar face that has the most to prove.

A year ago, we were still four months away from Jason Pierre-Paul suffering a serious hand injury during a fireworks accident. He missed eight games in 2015 and when he returned, he didn't have full use of his hand during games because it was taped into a club. As a result, he finished the year with just one sack.

But 2016 is going to be different, to hear JPP tell it. For starters, the club is gone.

"I'm not going to wear a club next year," he told reporters during a conference call. "My hand is perfectly fine."

It gets better. "I'm capable of closing and gripping ... it turned out really well," he said.

Pierre-Paul, who signed a one-year, $10.5 million "show-me" deal last week, is coming off January hand surgery.

"The surgery is definitely going to help me a lot," Pierre-Paul said Dec. 30. "I can't grip out of my middle finger, it can't close right now. That's the reason why I'm in the club. Once I have my surgery I'll be fine. I'm excited to actually get it done. Something I knew I had to get done at the end of the season."

In December, JPP told the New York Post that doctors initially wanted to cut his "whole hand off." A few weeks later, the defensive end revealed what his right hand looked like during a television interview with Fox Sports' Michael Strahan.

Next up for Pierre-Paul: Returning to the form that made him one of the NFL's best pass rushers. The most recent surgery should help, but he still has a long way to go to match his sack total from 2014 (12.5), when he started all 16 games for the Giants.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories