Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Peppers, Panthers divorce -- and it was time

The Julius Peppers circus finally closed down the tent today, with the Panthers explaining why they decided to let him go after eight years in a news conference. Basically, their decision boiled down to the fact that Peppers was going to cost too much money.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready for this one to be over. Aching for it to be over, really. This was the sideshow that just wouldn’t end, a “he-said, he-said” offseason distraction for what seems like forever.

Carolina painted itself into a corner once – paying Peppers $1 million per game in 2009. With an even tinier corner to play with this season, the Panthers have decided to cut ties instead of re-franchising Peppers for more than $20 million for the 2010 season.

So no more charging around the end for No.90. No more discussion about how many plays Peppers took off or how good he could have been had he had a motor that revved like Jon Beason or a heart like Sam Mills.

Peppers isn’t a bad guy, really, just a quiet one. If someone was going to write you or me the sort of checks the Panthers did for the past eight years, we wouldn’t turn it down, either.

What Peppers never gave the Panthers, however, was much of anything but stats. Peppers had little locker-room presence. He was never a natural leader and rarely tried to be one. He was a Pro Bowl defensive end for much of his career and yet he could have been more than that here.

Some team will still pay Peppers a boatload of money, although I would guess it will be a smaller boatload than the Panthers would have when they offered him that contract extension awhile back. Whatever.

It was time for a divorce. Peppers will be happier with a fresh start, and so will Carolina. He called this ending "bittersweet" in an exclusive interview with The Observer, but it's an exit door Peppers has been looking for going on more than a year now.

I think the Panthers will be just as good without Peppers – remember, they were only 8-8 last season -- if they use wisely the millions they will save by letting him go.

54 comments:

Curtis said...

I'm not surprised to see Pep go...but I am surprised it is a "walk away for free" situation. I thought if nothing else, they'd franchise him for sure. But...I guess they have their reasons.

At least we know there will be some $$ to get some talent elsewhere. Just understand, you don't just "replace" a talent like #90 as a Defensive End.

I can only guess Meeks had a big part to play in this. In his mind, he may be convinced and have convinced others that in his scheme he'd much rather spread the $$ around for more and deeper talent than just on one guy. Who knows, the big cat may have said "OK Meeks, you can have JP or you can go get 3 or 4 other guys to get your talent up/deeper".

Anonymous said...

this reminds me of the Hornets and Alonzo Mourning issue a while back. the Hornet's were just as good without him and the Panthers will be fine. the hit will take a while for some fans to move past it but in the end it will better for the team. matt moore is a good quarterback and has cost the Panthers pennies compared to Peppers. quality is not always wrapped in high costs.

Anonymous said...

OK, we now get to see what talent exists in the front office. No excuses, please! Let a player of Peppers caliber go without copensation? REALLY??? I think Panthers management has bigger balls than brains.

Scott Helms said...

there was no way around this. there was to be no trade opportunity. Peppers, again, would not have signed his tender. Even without the salary cap, management simply could not justify $21 million ++. They made a wise business decision and a wise team-morale decision. Adios, #90. Don't let the door hit your loafing butt on the way out! Good luck in Philly where they boo Santa Claus!

J said...

Anon 1:13 - big difference between this and the Alonzo situation. The Hornets got something for him - Jamal Mashburn and Glen Rice. That extended their window a couple years.

I wish they could have worked out a "sign-and-trade" scenario, where they talked trade with a team that neds him, arrange a contract JP would accept, sign him, then trade him to the new team. At least we would get something. Now we have to make do with Everette Brown and no first-round pick.

We had better hope Fox relaxes his stubborn nature and lets Matt Moore start or we're going to be in a world of hurt.

Anonymous said...

Matt Moore? he is going to be a free agent unless the Panthers do something about it... and guess what, he will not be asking for "pennies" anymore, he may well sign as a starter elsewhere. jake makes 10 million here this year whether he plays or not - and you all complain about peppers... it would have taken around 12 mil/year to sign him long term.

Anonymous said...

julius,

sorry you had to play under FOX. i wish it he were he and jake that were leaving and not you.

but life isn't fair.

Jon Beason

tarhoosier said...

Eight years at a news conference is reason enough to release anyone.

Anonymous said...

He'll go somewhere, play well for a few games, get fans' hopes up, and then dash them by disappearing again.

Anonymous said...

ONE PROBLEM GONE GET READ PROBLEM #2 JAKE THE FAKE QB

Anonymous said...

Panthers 2010 = 3 WINS - 13 LOSSES

Anonymous said...

see ya in a couple years Pepp!

Anonymous said...

see ya Pep. Thanks for the memories! Still I don't think that we are going to make a splash in free agency. With a potential lock-out the Big Cat is going to be spending uncessary money.

Anonymous said...

There was no way the Panthers could have gotten anything for Peppers unless they tagged him again. Every board I go to there are at least a few people asking why the Panthers didn't get compensation, well that is why. They would have had to tag him, he would have had to sign the tender, then they would have to find a team willing to give up a boatload for Pep. They couldn't find anyone last year so why would you risk that again at a higher expense? Peppers is good no doubt, but some of you think he is the savior of this football team. He is a good defensive end and that is it. I saw some stats that showed only two players being paid higher than him last year, P. Manning and D. McNabb. Yeah even Jarred Allen was paid less. So many people are talking about bad business decisions by letting Peppers go....ha! It would have been great to have him stay, but paying him what he wants would be the ONLY bad business decision anyone should be talking about there.

Anonymous said...

Always interesting to read these articles by little nerds who could not even make a jr high fottball team. Now you want to talk about being a leader in a locker room,taking off plays, etc.How many plays have you made? I hope you do not have a son because he is going to beat up a lot.Scott my 10 year old son could run over you and probably your punk kid

Anonymous said...

Thank Gawdddd .......

Now get rid of Beason and Smith.

Why? They suck!!!!!

Bob Johnson said...

Ugh! The stupid gets stupider. Let a 30 year old all pro/all decade franchise player walk and get nothing for him, sounds way too fishy to me. If the Panther's aren't for sale yet, they will be soon. Clearing contracts and making way for an easy sell. Good bye Richardsons. Thanks for bringing the NFL to CLT. Hope the new owners care as much as the Richardsons did. Great owners and a great franchise.

Anonymous said...

Scott, please don't imply the Panthers were 8-8 because of Pep. The Panthers were 8-8 because Jake lost so many games for us with his horrible play. Good luck Pep. You will be missed.

coloradoneer said...

Who's to say that Pepp will not be back next year. We could still offer him more money (not the $20 million to tag him) as a free agent than other teams out there will.

Scott, who cares if Pepp did not have a presence in the locker room. We paid him (maybe a little too much last year) to do a job that he did well. Nothing else is required. I'd rather have Pepp's talent without leadership than Jake's leadership without talent.

Batgrafix said...

I see it this way - Isn't this the last time they can franchise him? If not, it may be next year, when they'd have to franchise him at like 23 million or so.

If they do franchise him, he won't sign until the last day he has to -- Carey has stated that. Forget trading him for draft picks.

Nobody wants to inherit his $20 million salary. They'd be in the same boat as the Panthers are now, with no long-term deal and on the hook for that huge salary with no guarantee they'd have him in the future.

Peppers has had plenty of opportunity to sign here, and hasn't.

On the bright side, 31 other teams don't have Julius Peppers, and somehow a team manages to win the Super Bowl every year. The Panthers haven't won a Super Bowl with Peppers. Just like the other 31 teams in the league, the Panthers will move on without him.

Does it suck to lose a player with this much talent? Yeah. Did the FO mismanage this situation years ago? Yeah. Can they do much about the situation now without spending a ton of money irresponsibly now? No.

I think this is about the only option that makes sense at this point.

Wayne said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we do get some compensation, I believe it's a third round pick at the end of the round in 2011????

Anonymous said...

Ok, Peppers is gone. That sucks because he was huge for our defense, but I am glad the Panthers did not franchise the guy. Way to much money. Just think, with that much money, we could get Sharper and still have money to spend on a QB. All we need to do now, go for a QB and go for a wide reciever. Lets face it, we need a good QB and a WR so we can put games away.

Anonymous said...

Scott you're such a negative nancy. You a are sports writer. Quit trying to act like you're a GM. Peppers is a hall of fame player. And we are all gonna watch him talk about playing for another team when he goes to Canton. With all this negativity in the papers, I would want to leave Charlotte too.

Malcom Travis said...

"Anonymous said...
Always interesting to read these articles by little nerds who could not even make a jr high fottball team. Now you want to talk about being a leader in a locker room,taking off plays, etc.How many plays have you made? I hope you do not have a son because he is going to beat up a lot.Scott my 10 year old son could run over you and probably your punk kid
"

Oh - Scott, be afraid, a tough guy named 'Anonymous'

Anonymous said...

Since we are starting over why not look to trade Smith for some draft picks. His days are numbered and let's get something while we can.

Anonymous said...

So long Peppers! Can't say I'm sad to see you go. You could have been one of the all time greats, but the difference between you and a Bruce Smith is the fact that you are too lazy. You take plays, heck even games, off. People come in here and cry about stats. Well, I would rather a guy be consistently good and know what I'm going to get every week than have a guy that one week will get you 3 sacks, a forced fumble, and an INT, then disappear for 3 weeks.

Anon at 2:58...Peppers may one day be a hall of fame player, but right now, he isn't even close to that caliber.

Anonymous said...

anyone suggesting that franchising him was the best option must not have been a panther fan last year. we did that already, all it did was cost a lot of money and make trading him impossible. peppers wasted the majority of his career and never lived up to his pay checks. if you dont think so, compare another player making that kind of cash. if drew brees wanted out of NO he'd have no problem getting a trade because he is worth franchise type cash. peppers couldnt get a trade for one reason, HES NOT WORTH THAT KIND OF MONEY. if he was he would have been traded last year. now the price has gone up another 4 mil and you think we should try it again. is your last name hurney?

Anonymous said...

I think there have been enough articles written in the past week or so stating that most teams are scared of signing Peppers because of his work ethic. Honestly guys, if he wasn't a Tar Hole you would all be running him out of town.

No one was going to take him in a trade so this is the only way we could let him go and try to sign a few free agents.

Anonymous said...

The Panthers are getting something for him...$21 mill to spend

Anonymous said...

Hurney said Peppers didn't fit the big picture yet Jake Delhomme does? You said even with Peppers they were 8-8. Did you even watch the games? I believe Jake was the cause of that record? Get a clue Fowler. I am a Panthers fan but Richardson should be ashamed of letting him walk. He was never an off field issue. Never got into any trouble. He came in and did his job and now he doesn't fit the big picture because he wasn't vocal enough? Give me a break. Rucker and Buckner were vocal and mediocre at best. They were decent because of Peppers. Julius will continue to play lights out and if he excels in another system then it's really not him. Go Panthers and Peppers!

Anonymous said...

The best thing to come from letting him walk is now we have room to go after a high profile WR and one or two DL...two positions we need help.

I can't say that I'm sad to see him go. I never liked his attitude and thought his work ethic was pathetic.

Brian said...

Alonzo was let go after Hornets spent a fortune on LJ, no comparison as to better player, more heart over time. I would have loved to see JP be the player he can be here in CLT but tthis was his decision.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching Peppers play at UNC-CH and thinking to myself he coudl be the greatest DL to play the game. However, he needed to learn to play hard every down. Well, he never learned that and while he made highlight reel plays once every 3 or 4 games, he was not what this team needs. The Panthers need someone to play consistently good football. If we can get that form our DL this year, I think we will be a force in the playoffs.

pantherfaninyankeeland said...

Congratulations Pepp, you've gotten what you wanted now you will get what you deserve. The Panthers (organization and fans) have been agonizingly patient with you because of your freakish talent. The only consistent part of your game was the apathy with which you approached it and I for one applaud the decision of the team.

Go chase your millions, go be where you want to be but be prepared for a level of scrutiny you have never known and certainly will not be able to handle, regardless of all that freakish talent.

You never had the will to succeed, just a natural gift to and I guess that's what makes you and your story all the more pathetic.

Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

What is it you people do not understand about signing a player to a long-term deal? The player has to want to be here! The Panthers made several attempts to sign Peppers to a long-term deal, making him either the highest or one of the highest paid defensive players in the league. What did he do - he ignored it and did not even respond to the offer.

How can Hurney, Fox or anyone else be to blame for him walking with no compensation - they couldn't make him sign a contract. Or maybe you wannabe GM/head coaches know something the Panthers front office didn't!

Anonymous said...

Hey Travis, where did you play in Jr. High, HS, and/or College if you played at all? After all, this is a sports writer taking comments from know-it-all's like you. Go play with yourself and get over it...

Anonymous said...

sounds like Panthers decided to go cheap. Remember no cap this year and its only 4million more than last year for Peppers. Now you get nothing for him; after taking the cap hit last year and losing depth. Truth will be if the Cats do anything in FA or if they sit on that Peppers salary.

Remember_Jake's_salary said...

Scott, will you spend as much time and energy next year writing about how Jake is making $800,000 per game while sitting on the bench? This is the real issue, not Pep's position. Pep is still an All-Pro, Jake is still the best player in his family, not much more.

Malcom Travis said...

"Hey Travis, where did you play in Jr. High, HS, and/or College if you played at all? After all, this is a sports writer taking comments from know-it-all's like you. Go play with yourself and get over it..."

Sort of obsessed with school sports there arent you anon. Let me guess thats where your career ended. Should we meet and compare letterman sweaters?

What kind of bitter, aged jock makes veiled threats against a child over writing in a sports blog?

Sure you hate Scott. He has a gig that a lot of folks think is kind of cool - you hate what ever it is you do to put food on the table.

Please get some help for your son. It cant be easy being raised by a man who projects meat -headed masculinity on to a 10 year old to make up for his own pathetic feelings of inadequecy.

oh - forget about telling me that "i dont know you", evryone one who can read knows you too well.

cheers, Mal

Mia said...

Simply put... Finally!

Anonymous said...

ok, we should have tagged and traded him for any draft picks. letting him go for nothing is rediculous!! trade him and delhomme for a 2nd round pick, get at least a little of what peppers is worth and get rid of delhommes overpriced contract...stupid stupid stupid hurney

Jason said...

Mourning was traded for Rice and Matt Geiger, not Mashburn. Rice was then traded for Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell. Jones was then traded for Mashburn and P.J. Brown. Then Mashburn got dizzy.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Peppers. This is now in the past.

Looking to the future: sign Matt Moore.

Vance said...

what kind of panther "fans" are you people? with the exception of maybe steve smith, peppers is the best player to ever play for the panthers and youre happy to see him leave? he doesnt take plays off, hes just getting double or triple teamed every play...the only reason he had such a good rookie year is because teams werent aware of his talent and only put one blocker on him..all he did was go out and put up double-digit sacks just about every year and u people hate on him...if kobe bryant doesnt get 30 every game do you say he took plays off? NO!!!!...peppers, thanks for a great 8 years, you will be missed

VJ said...

what kind of panther "fans" are you people? with the exception of maybe steve smith, peppers is the best player to ever play for the panthers and youre happy to see him leave? he doesnt take plays off, hes just getting double or triple teamed every play...the only reason he had such a good rookie year is because teams werent aware of his talent and only put one blocker on him..all he did was go out and put up double-digit sacks just about every year and u people hate on him...if kobe bryant doesnt get 30 every game do you say he took plays off? NO!!!!...peppers, thanks for a great 8 years, you will be missed

Adrian DeVore said...

It wasn't meant to be after seven years together when Julius Peppers and the Panthers decided to divorce each other. Julius and the Panthers have been mutually unhappy for a very long time.

I can only wish the best for Julius Peppers with his new team. May it be a happy one on both sides.

Thanks for the memories.

Frankie said...

All you really needed to write was the last paragraph, you know, the one that mentions 8-8? You're probably right, I believe there's a chance we can climb to those heights, even without Peppers. I too, am glad it's over, but I'm certainly not happy about the outcome. In fact, I'm extremely disappointed, especially as a season ticket holder. If someone is going to pay him, which they will, why can't it be us? For once, why can't it be us? I suppose Smith will be next, since he's our only remaining pro bowler.

Anonymous said...

The thing that everybody knows about Peppers is he plays when he wants to.I like dude;but he's not worth 20 mil. . Let's get a good reciever to go with Smith ,protect and pay Moore ,and ride D. WILL and J. Stew to the Super Bowl ,and this time win this thing .

Kenneth said...

It is simply amazing to me how dumb some of you are when it comes to this situation. I am glad that it is finally over so you will be able to see with your own eyes how valuable this man was to this team. Who at defensive end on the remaining roster will opposing teams have to scheme for? We went through this with Kris Jenkins and you learned nothing. We still haven't found his replacement. I think that a lot of you just wanted Pep gone because you were jealous about how much money he would have received. How come no one questions the amount of money that pro pitchers and quaterbacks receive? Well actually you did when it was Michael Vick.

Anonymous said...

Now go get Vick and Randy Moss and we'll have a new team!

Anonymous said...

Did someone on here actually say JP is going to the hall of fame? What in the world are you smoking. Do you even know there are other teams in the league except the Panthers? JP has as much chance of going to the hall of fame as i do winning the powerball jackpot.

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Ben Leonard said...

Well said Scott. It makes no sense to pay him 20 Mil when we need many other parts to make the team work. Besides, we paid him 17.5 last year and didnt make the playoffs....so he obviously wasnt that much of an impact player. Another option at QB, 2 more receivers and we are good to go.

Anonymous said...

ok, we should have tagged and traded him for any draft picks. letting him go for nothing is rediculous!! trade him and delhomme for a 2nd round pick, get at least a little of what peppers is worth and get rid of delhommes overpriced contract...stupid stupid stupid hurney

^ dam youre dumb

tagging him will not produce a trade because no team wants this guy at that price, thus making that financial burden our responsibility again. how do i know this? because it happened last year