When should the Ravens expect Jason Pierre-Paul to play?

The Baltimore Ravens officially signed former All-Pro pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul to a one-year, $5.5 million contract on Thursday, adding a crucial depth piece to a razor-thin outside linebacker corps.

Pierre-Paul originally visited with the team in June and even took a physical, but the Ravens held off on making an official offer at the time. Three months and numerous injuries later and the Ravens revisited talks this week.

Following his second official visit with the team on Tuesday, the Ravens made things official and signed Pierre-Paul a couple of days later. There’s no arguing that the three-time Pro Bowler won’t provide much-needed depth to the team’s pass rush unit.

However, expectations should probably be tempered for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it’s unclear when he will even be able to take the field.

When will Jason Pierre-Paul make his Ravens debut?

The former 15th overall pick spent the last four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he helped lead his team to a Super Bowl. That said, he has seen his production and efficiency dip in recent years.

Combine that with an offseason surgery he underwent to repair a torn rotator cuff back in February and it’s easy to see why Ravens fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for Pierre-Paul to return to his Pro Bowl form.

More importantly, though, when should we expect him to actually take the field for the first time in a Ravens jersey?

It’s highly unlikely that Pierre-Paul will be able to play this Sunday against the New England Patriots. Not only is he returning from injury, but he has yet to practice with the team and didn’t have the luxury of a training camp or preseason to get in shape.

The Ravens will likely take things slow with Pierre-Paul, but they don’t exactly have the luxury of waiting around forever. Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston remain the only two healthy outside linebackers on the active roster (if you don’t count Malik Harrison) while Jeremiah Moon and the newly signed Brandon Copeland are on the practice squad.

The Ravens need outside linebacker help now, at least until Tyus Bowser and later David Ojabo return from injury. For that reason, there’s a decent chance we see Pierre-Paul in action as soon as Week 4 if the Ravens feel he’s ready.

The team didn’t sign Pierre-Paul to sit on the bench for a few weeks. While nothing has been said on the matter, I’d be surprised if the plan wasn’t for him to play in Week 4. After all, Bowser is eligible to come off the PUP list after that week anyway.

Don’t expect Jason Pierre-Paul to play this week, but a Week 4 target for his debut seems reasonable.