If you haven’t been following the Julius Peppers situation, this article gives the full recount. In brief, Peppers wants out of Carolina, and part of his reasoning was that he wants to move from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3. Or, in the very least, to a different system.
Right. That’s the reason. Because despite the fact that he’s the ideal model of a 4-3 defensive end, the real reason he wants to leave Carolina is to play the 3-4.
Bull. He wants out. Like all of their assistant coaches.
Now, the Panthers would be foolish to just let him walk. But sticking the franchise tag on him will cost them, to the tune of about $17 mil. (Editor’s note: “Money / it’s a drag”). Here’s the rub – any trade after they franchise him would likely bring them two first-round picks, the cost for receiving a franchise player in a trade. Most teams aren’t going to go that route, least of all, the Philadelphia Eagles.
But are the Panthers willing to pay Peppers $17 mil?
I mean, technically, they hold the leverage here. If they want him next year, they can pony up, and it’s unlikely Peppers will holdout for an entire year and give up that kind of dough. He’ll grit his teeth and play. Shoot, for that much money, he’d be crazy not to.
But will the Panthers get their money’s worth? I mean, will this guy give them everything he’s got, especially after publicly announcing he wants out?
This is an interesting situation, and I’m not quite sure if there’s even a remote chance the Eagles make a play at him, unless he hits the free-agent market. Which he very likely won’t. Instead, a team desperate for a pass-rush will likely end up giving the Panthers – in the least – a first and second-rounder.
But man – can you imagine Peppers and Cole as the D-ends next year? That would be a nightmare for offensive lineman and quarterbacks across the league. It would enable the Eagles D to be less reliant on the blitz, and offer them multiple ways to attack the quarterback. I mean, I’m getting excited just thinking about it.
Thing is, even if it doesn’t happen, it still might work out in the Eagles favor. Because if the Panthers franchise Peppers, they could lose OT Jordan Gross, who might be targeted by our Birds. Gross was franchised by Carolina last season, and it is still uncertain whether he will resign with Carolina or not. Clearly, the offensive line will be addressed this offseason, and with it being unlikely that both Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas will be brought back, Gross will get a long, hard look from the Eagles.
So go ahead, Carolina – play your hand. We’ll take a split pot with these kind of chips on the table.
(Editor’s note: Much more to come on the Eagles offseason, including a full laundry list of needs and desired moves, as dictated by the Pundit)