Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Should the Panthers consider Julius Peppers? Absolutely

UPDATE: Julius Peppers signed with the Green Bay Packers on March 15th.

While those in Carolina await the fate of wide receiver Steve Smith, another 34-year-old former star of the Panthers' 2003 Super Bowl team just got his walking papers.

Julius Peppers was released by the Chicago Bears Tuesday. It was the same old NFL story -- his production had dipped and his contract numbers were unsustainable after a couple of restructures that back-ended too much money into the final years of the deal.

Peppers started every game for Chicago in 2013 but had only seven sacks, his lowest since that incomprehensible season for Carolina in 2007 when he somehow managed to have only 2.5.

But, like Smith, Peppers can still play. I can't imagine the former No.2 pick of the Panthers in 2002 -- he played in Charlotte from 2002-09 before turning down a huge contract offer to go to the Bears instead -- is ready to retire.

Smith was such a fan of Peppers' stunning athletic ability that he once joked he was just glad to be able to stand next to Peppers in all the official team pictures -- since he was No.89 and Peppers was No.90, he always got to do so.

So should Carolina consider signing Peppers again, if he came cheaply? Absolutely the Panthers should. I know what you're saying, they already have all this money tied up in Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson and they've got some young defensive ends, too.

All that is true -- but pass-rushing is the name of the game on defense in the NFL. You can't have too many. Remember, I said only if Peppers comes cheap -- at a veteran-minimum type of price. Likely, he will command more than that, which would quickly put him out of the Panthers' price range (given Carolina's more pressing needs on the offensive line and at wide receiver).

But Peppers is extremely durable -- he has missed only four games due to injury in a dozen seasons (he missed four more as a rookie due to a suspension). The former UNC football and basketball player would never cause a speck of trouble in the locker room.

That said, Peppers is also a shy and unusual guy, and not a team leader type. He wanted out of Carolina badly by the time he left for Chicago, and so he's probably not interested in returning because he likes anonymity and he would be anything but anonymous here.

Still, the Panthers owe it to themselves to at least kick the tires on this one. And if by some miracle Peppers wants to return and wants to do it for very little money (in NFL terms), then that is something Carolina should seriously think about.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sign Peppers? Scott are you smoking crack??

Nolan said...

This article is such a waste of bandwidth.

Yea let's bring in Peppers at a position of surplus while we are trying to scrape together every penny to fill the many gaping holes on our roster with anything but vet minimum players.

Sure you did add the qualifier that we'd only do it at the vet minimum. There are a lot of guys we'd bring in at vet minimum, but when that has a 0% chance of happening why are you wasting your time and our time entertaining the notion??? Don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Sure bring Peppers back---then he can prove in the forthcoming NCAA investigation that he was the "unnamed" UNC Tarheel player who could not read and write.

annnort said...

Peppers made it clear for years that he wanted to leave Charlotte and the Panthers. We finally have one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Please, do not saddle the team with Peppers. Very, very bad idea to add him to a group that plays well together.

Someone needs to explain to Steve Smith why he needs to take less pay and stay with the Panthers. KEEP STEVE SMITH!!!

Anonymous said...

Don't go there. The best day in Panther franchise history was the day Peppers left.

Anonymous said...

Come on scott, you have to be kidding. The guy doesn't deserve to be a Panther after tanking his last season here while collecting a huge payday. Peppers was an athletic freak in his prime. Now he's just a freak...

Paul .O'Donovan said...

GO TO BED FOWLER!!! You're brain needs the rest.

Anonymous said...

Man you UNC types sure do look out for each other. I am sure you want us to sign the over the hill Nicks as well.

Anonymous said...

SIGN PEPPERS! He's a tall guy bith b-ball hands, he can be our new #3 wideout!

Anonymous said...

Yeah Scott like everyone else has said previously, this article was an article written b/c you're bored or brain left at home on your pillow. We dont even need Peppers especially after franchising Hardy and paying Chris Johnson's big contract, plus they are great players!!! Pep wanted out so he's out! No going back! Let the Raiders have him!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely....NOT. Haven't heard much about him since he left. Personally, I do not want ANY player on the team that doesn't WANT to be here. He moved on. So have we. Actually, DE is one of the positions we are fairly deep at. Bottom line, even at the vet league minimum, we don't need him. We suddenly have lost 3 experienced OLs to retirement. Hangartner and Byers were capable of filling in at multiple positions. The OL concerns me more than even the WR/TE position at the moment.

James Edgar said...

Let's see... this is the same guy who, as soon as the ink was dry on his Bears contract, said he was so happy to get out of NC - a place that's full of ignorant, celebrity-worshipping rednecks who liked to drive their boats up to his back porch and ogle at him, and nobody does that in a "cosmopolitan" city like Chicago.

They say Chicago is the city with the big shoulders, but Charlotte's shoulders are pretty big too. We use them to carry grudges. Ronny Sikally would still get booed out of buildings if he ever showed up here.

Same goes for Peppers. Good riddance to him.

Anonymous said...

It's a relief to see that the comments here state exactly how I feel about bringing Peppers back to Carolina. He couldn't wait to get out of Carolina. Even if we didn't have a good defense I wouldn't want to see him back in Carolina. Wherever he goes I wish him well AS LONG AS IT IS NOT HERE.

I agree with the commenter who said this article is a total waste of bandwidth.

Anonymous said...

He can play tight end, he did it on goal line a couple times while here...

Anonymous said...

Well this is unfortunate. I gotta say I am sad, disappointed, anxious, and excited.

Sad-to see SS leave and not finish his career in Charlotte

Disappointed-in the Panthers and the way they handled this. Surely there was a way to keep him at a reduced role (unless SS thought otherwise). Is this really the way they wanted to treat the best player in team history?

Anxious-We have no NFL caliber WR's on this team!! What is the plan?!

Excited-To see how Gettleman assembles a new WR core. I am sure it will be through a combination of free agents and the draft. He did a great job in 2013 so I will give him some time to see what develops.

I just don't understand the thinking here. We let our top 3 WR's walk after a 12-4 season. If the plan is to start 2 rookies it is going to be a LONG season.

Anonymous said...

Talk about polar opposites. Peppers-Smith. Wouldn't mind having both with 1 yr deals. I think long term professional sports contracts are killing professional sports. Give some guaranteed $$ to sign and contracts are one year only deals. Player likes where he's playing and performs, teams re-ups him for another. Too simple to work I guess. Long term deals are most of the times not ever honored as written on paper anyway.

Anonymous said...

You fickle fans are so funny... So he wanted to leave because MARTY HURNEY sucked at his job and the Panthers were going NOWHERE !...I would have wanted to leave too.If he wants to play cheap you would be crazy not to take him...People act like he was your girl friend or something. See what they did to Steve, Beason, and Kasey...

Gil Kozlowski said...

Panthers fans you would be wise to stay away from this. I am Bears fan saw good effort the first two years he was signed but after that he was just picking up his check.

Anonymous said...

Peppers has no motor....no desire to be great! Never has! He wanted "leader" money, yet did not want to be a leader. Really tanked it his last year here while pulling in $1 million per game! What a shame and a waste of talent! Should have averaged 18-20 sacks a year. Scott....you've lost you marbles to even suggest this!

Anonymous said...

should have ave the nfl sack record...crazy

great football player better person

Anonymous said...

NO! NO! He thinks he is too good for Charlotte.