Christopher Price of WEEI.com reported on Tuesday that Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Julius Peppers sounds like he’s done in Carolina, which could put him back on the free agent market.
Peppers, who accepted the franchise tag from the Panthers and signed a $16.7 tender offer back in June, has apparently been getting the “silent treatment” and no longer has interest in signing a long-term deal.
âLast year, at the time, that was the option that I wanted most,â Peppers said in an interview aired Tuesday morning on Charlotte radio station WFNZ-AM. âNow itâs not.â
Peppers recorded 10 1/2 sacks last season and made the Pro Bowl, and according to the HeraldNet out of Charlotte New England could certainly be a team thatÂ may be interested.Â With the prospect of draft picks and added compensation no longer an issue, provided PeppersÂ has changed his interest toward being with a winning franchise andÂ isn’t looking for ridiculous money – it seems less absurd.Â Â Â As we’ve seen they’ve hadÂ their issues with generating a pass rush, so Peppers definitely seems like a guy they might consider.
New England finished the 2009 regularÂ season with just 31 sacks (tied for 23rd with the Panthers) with Tully Banta-Cain leading the way with 10 of them.Â Other than Banta-Cain, the next closest were Mike Wright and Derrick Burgess, who had five each.
Needless to say getting to the quarterback has been an issue.
Whether or not he fits Belichick’s style of defense will likely be a deciding factor, along with his work ethic.Â With many changes looming on this roster, Belichick has already had his share of guys who were great players before they got here but didn’t pan out (ie: Adalius Thomas), and there have apparently been questions surrounding Peppersâ inconsistency.Â He finished with just 2 1/2 sacks in ’08, and according to the HeraldNet he acknowledgedÂ in that interview TuesdayÂ that even former defensive coordinator Jack Del RioÂ (now coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars)Â told him during his rookie year in 2002 that it doesnât appear heâs playing hard on every down.
âI told him just because it doesnât look like Iâm running as hard as the next man with my arms swinging, sweating and breathing hard doesnât mean Iâm not trying as hard,â Peppers said. âIâm still trying hard, it just doesnât look like it. I do it easier.â
So there are certainly lots of factors to consider.Â We’ll have to wait and see in the coming months if being a Patriot could come to fruition, or if he’ll be just another big name who ends up with a big payday elsewhere because he’s just not the right fit.