OK, I believe Panthers GM Marty Hurney when he says he and the New England Patriots aren't exchanging heated phone calls right now, feverishly trying to find a price that would be suitable for Julius Peppers to go to the Patriots.
But that doesn't mean this trade won't happen. New England has cleared enough cap room to make it a logical landing place for Peppers, who wants to play in a 3-4 system and for a winner. Conversely, the Panthers would like to ship him to the AFC so they don't have to deal with Peppers in case he happens to finally have that 20-sack season he has always teased Panther fans with but never quite delivered.
So let's say at some point -- through Peppers' agent Carl Carey or whatever -- that Carolina and New England do talk after Carey does some negotiating.
Then you know what? The No.34 pick -- which according to this nfl.com report from respected writer Vic Carucci is what would be in play for New England to give up in a Peppers trade -- really wouldn't be enough. I mean, c'mon -- is this what the market has come to for Peppers? An early second-round pick, and that's it?
That's simply not enough. So it's a good thing they aren't talking -- at least not yet. But when and if they do, there better be more on the table than that.