Julius Peppers will not be a Panther in 2009


juliuspeppers‘Tis the season to hand out franchise tags. The Patriots already slapped one on overrated signal caller Matt Cassel. Two days ago the Giants followed suit and tagged bruising running back Brandon Jacobs. It will cost the Pats $14.65 million to keep Cassel. Way too much. The G-Men will have to dole out $6.62 million to retain Jacobs. Seems fair to me.

It’s easy to see why most teams avoid the franchise tag altogether. The price is not right. Which brings me to Julius Peppers. The soon to be free-agent defensive end, according to NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan, will carry a $17 million cap hit if the Panthers elect to tag him. That’s $17 MILLION!! In addition, Jordan Gross, the Cats other high profile free-agent, will cost $8.45 million.

There is no way the Panthers can afford to keep both players without destroying their 2009 cap. One, if not both, will hit the streets on February 27. In my opinion, it will be Peppers. I can’t imagine a team would pony up 17 large for a quarterback, let alone a defensive end. Besides, Peppers has been grumbling since season’s end about wanting to play elsewhere – maybe in 3-4 style defense.

As for all this 3-4 talk, let me just say this. Peppers is NOT a 3-4 OLB or defensive end. He can’t stand up and play in space because he’s not quick enough. Maybe five years ago, but not now. OLBs in a 3-4 defense are between 250-265 pounds. Peppers is 280. If he believes he’s Demarcus Ware, he’s got a screw loose. If I was an NFL GM, I wouldn’t sign him to a position he’s never played a down at, especially when he’s entering his 8th season. Not for the amount of cash it will take to land him.

And he’s not powerful enough to stick his hand in the dirt to play end in a 3-4 alignment. You’d be able to run on him all day. Richard Seymour is the prototype 3-4 end and he weighs 310 pounds. Again, Peppers is 280. So, if he wants to move away from a standard 4-3 defense, he’ll find the going a lot tougher than he thinks. I’ll be interested to see which 3-4 teams go after him if he’s available. The Cowboys or Dolphins would be likely pursuers. Although, I wonder if Bill Parcells would really sign him.

Regardless of the style of defense, it seems clear to me that Peppers will be wearing a new uniform in 2009. Does this knowledge make him any more appealing to Eagles Nation? It does to me. I’ve said before that pairing him up with Trent Cole would make one deadly duo. And the Birds do have a history of signing big ticket defensive free agents. Of course, all of my ramblings are pointless if Peppers is determined to go to  3-4 defense.

I’m of the belief that they still need another legit pass rusher. I don’t trust Juqua Parker, Chris Clemons and Victor Abiamiri are enough. They’re all solid backups, but none are starters. Sign Peppers, then use the draft to fill the needs on offense. The Eagles have over $32 million in cap space. More than plenty to make some noise this off-season.

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Tags: Brandon Jacobs Carolina Panthers Eagles Franchise Tag Free Agency Jordan Gross Julius Peppers Matt Cassel Pat Kirwan

  • Tracer Bullet

    I actually think (hope) Abrimiri is due for a big year after two injury-plagued seasons. I guess they can afford Peppers, but it seems like spending money just for the sake of spending money. If you’re going go in that direction, why not Haynesworth?

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    I wouldn’t call Peppers spending money just to spend it. The guy is a top 5 defensive end, just like Samuel was as top 5 cornerback last year. Haynesworth has too many “issues” for the Eagles.

  • Harley

    While the prospect of pairing Peppers with Cole is enticing, and having parker and clemons as the backups in the rotation sounds great, I don’t think this is what we should do.  Peppers is only getting older, and spending the kind of money we will need to get him will be better spent on an OT, TE or WR.  Yes I know it was our defense that cost us that game against Arizona, but big picture thinking says we need help at those other 3 positions more.

    I would rather spend the money on Gross, or trade for Boldin, T. Gonzalez or Winslow and throw big money at them.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Gross is a definite possibility. Boldin is NOT coming here. If you’re worried about age, why get Gonzalez. I feel last season was the end of the line for Gonzo. Winslow? Never been a fan.

  • Ian

    Scott I did not know Peppers had such a huge number. There is no way Carolina will tag him for that. Maybe this is a real possibility. It also means getting Gross is not going to happen then, because Carolina will not let him leave.

    Another player I was looking at was Patriots strong safety James Sanders. He is only 25, and he played pretty well the past two seasons for New England. He is not a huge name, but he could be one of those very good under the radar type of signings.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Ian – Reports out of Carolina are they are about to sign Gross to the richest contract for an O-lineman in history. They are also implying that will free up the cash to tag Peppers. I’m not seeing that, unless they do it, then try to trade him, and if there are no takers, remove the tag. I think the Birds did that with Trotter before he left for the Redskins? Might be wrong about that.

    It’s funny you should mention Sanders. While pouring through free agent info over the weekend I saw his name. Called a Pats friend of mine and asked him what he thought of Sanders. He told me he was similar to Quintin Mikell. Interesting. Since we already have Mikell, not sure where he would play, unless he can move to free safety. Or he could replace Considine?

  • Ian

    Move Mikell to FS, and have Sanders play SS.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    If Dawkins doesn’t return, it could work.

  • Ryan

    I would just like to tell whoever wrote this that they are an idiot.  Peppers is not “fast enough” to be a 3-4 outside linebacker?  He is one of the fastests and most athletic DE in the NFL, and I hate to point this out to you but 3-4 OLB are DE in college.  You are so ignorant you say he is not quick enough because he weighs 280, I am sorry but weight has nothing to dowith speed and quickness.  He is a pure freak and more athletic than Demarcus Ware.  3-4 defenses put their best pass rusher at OLB.  So before you write an article about football please have an idea what your talking about.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Ryan – I wrote it. We all have opinions. Why don’t you calm down. Gee, are you Peppers’ agent? We shall see where Peppers ends up. If it’s with a 3-4 team, great. I still believe he’s a 4-3 end. He is not more athletic than Ware, by the way. Maybe when he was 22, but not now. I’m confident I know football pretty well. You can disagree if you like, that’s your right.

    But do me one favor. Don’t come over here, hiding behind your screen name, and call me an idiot and ignorant. Junior high name calling is for other blogs. We talk like adults over here. Now go give Julius his nightly massage and whisper in his ear how great he is. He probably needs a little pick-me-up after getting tagged today.

  • Ryan

    Scott I am not even a big Peppers fan so I hate to shatter your dreams of me liking men like that.  And again you are ignorant for thinking he was in his prime and most athletic at 22.  Peppers must have hit his prime recently when he recorded the most sacks in his career this year.  Peppers and Ware are close in athletic ability so you really cant say who is more athletic.  Please stop talking you are a donkey.  Eat a dick.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Sure, you’re not a fan of Peppers, Ryan. That’s what they all say. Yeah, your boy had 14.5 sacks – in a 4-3 defense. More importantly, you’ve already bored me. I have better things to do, like get ready for the Combine. So run along to one of the other 31 Fansided blogs and insult someone else. Then go giggle to yourself and high-five your imaginary friends. By the way, writing colorful witticisms like “eat a dick” don’t to do much to disprove your obvious latent homosexuality. Have a nice day :o)

  • john

    you r an awful commentator and u have no idea on half of wat u r saying

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Thanks for stopping by john. That means I’m right half the time. Thanks. I’ll take 50% any day.

  • http://blog.lib.umn.edu/rotty002/nflchat/ thenflchat

    Yo what was that bro thinking, that’s nuts