The Miami Dolphins signed veteran pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul on Tuesday to add depth to their defense, which recently lost standout linebacker Jaelan Phillips to a season-ending Achilles’ tendon tear.
Pierre-Paul, a South Florida native, was previously on the Saints’ practice squad. He was drafted in the first round by the Giants in 2010 and spent eight seasons there. He’s also had stints with Tampa Bay (2018-2021) and Baltimore (2022).
He has 94½ sacks in 14 seasons, which ranks seventh among active players. He won Super Bowls with the Giants in 2011 and with Tampa Bay in 2020.
Phillips tore his Achilles’ in the fourth quarter of a 34-13 win over the Jets on Black Friday, and the team placed him on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon.
Coach Mike McDaniel said it will be hard to replicate Phillips’ production — he had 43 tackles, 6½ sacks, 1 interception, and 2 passes defensed in eight games this season — but he is confident in some of the depth the Dolphins have.
“There’s an element of people playing for him, I think,” McDaniel said.
Andrew Van Ginkel replaced Phillips at outside linebacker earlier this season when Phillips dealt with oblique and back injuries, and he has ascended in Miami’s defense with four sacks and 42 tackles.
Pierre-Paul, who was a first-team All-Pro in 2011 and has been selected to three Pro Bowls, will provide a veteran presence for a Dolphins defense that is relatively young.
He posted on his Instagram account Monday night that he is “coming home.”
Taylor to have surgery
Colts running back Jonathan Taylor will have thumb surgery Wednesday and hopes to play again in about three weeks, a person with knowledge of the injury told the Associated Press.
Taylor apparently was injured during Sunday’s 27-20 victory over the Buccaneers. It’s unclear when he was hurt, though, because when he slid down on the last of his 15 carries after picking up the first down, the Colts (6-5) ran out the clock. Taylor finished with 91 yards and a season-high two touchdowns.
After the game, coach Shane Steichen said the Colts avoided any major injuries during the game. Steichen and the players were not available Tuesday when they are typically off.
It’s been a rocky season for Taylor, the 2021 NFL rushing champion who started training camp on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing offseason ankle surgery. He remained on PUP for the first four games of the regular season.
While rehabbing, Taylor also was mired in an ugly contract dispute with the Colts and publicly complained about the devaluing of running backs by teams.
But Taylor and the Colts patched up their differences and wound up agreeing to a three-year contract extension worth $42 million on Oct. 7, one day before he made his season debut against Tennessee.
Zack Moss will now reclaim the starting role. He ranks 10th in the NFL with 672 yards on 141 carries (4.8 yards) and has five scoring runs.
The Colts have won three straight to climb into the seventh and final position for the AFC playoffs.
Vikings All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson was activated from injured reserve, cleared to return to action after missing two months with a hamstring injury.
Minnesota began its bye week after a 12-10 loss to Chicago on Monday, but Jefferson will be back on the field when the Vikings (6-6) play at Las Vegas on Dec. 10. He missed the past seven games.
Jefferson, the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2022, was hurt in Week 5 against Kansas City, causing the first absence of his four-year career. He has 36 catches for 571 yards and three touchdowns this season.
“Justin was close to having a chance of going last night, but the best thing for him and for our team moving forward was to get through the bye and ultimately have him at 100 percent coming out of the bye as we take on the Raiders on the road,” coach Kevin O’Connell said.
Jefferson returned to practice on Nov. 8 and said last week he was reaching “top speeds.” But the Vikings opted to give Jefferson one more game and the bye to fully heal. The Vikings waived wide receiver N’Keal Harry to make room on the roster.
Three-time All-Pros Julius Peppers and Antonio Gates were chosen as semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2024 in their first year of eligibility.
Peppers and Gates headline a group of 25 modern day semifinalists from a group of 173 nominees announced in September. The only other player who advanced to the semifinal stage for the first time was running back Tiki Barber.
Eight players who made it to the final stage of 15 in the class of 2023 return as semifinalists this year with Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, Torry Holt, Patrick Willis, Willie Anderson, and Darren Woodson all looking to get in after falling short a year ago.
The other semifinalists are Eric Allen, Anquan Boldin, Jahri Evans, London Fletcher, Eddie George, James Harrison, Rodney Harrison, Robert Mathis, Steve Smith, Fred Taylor, Hines Ward, Ricky Watters, Reggie Wayne, and Vince Wilfork.