ESPN’s Tim Graham reported on Tuesday that the Patriots may be in the lead of landing Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Julius Peppers should Carolina not franchise him.

Graham points out that in a chat with CBS’ Pat Kirwan he pointed out that New England is the team that’s shown the most interest, and that he may be a fit here in New England.

“I still think the Patriots are the team that had the most interest in him, and they struggled in the pass rush,” said Kirwan via that transcript. “Belichick has had great success with the hybrid players, like Willie McGinnest, who can play in both the three- and four-man fronts. The Redskins are notorious for spending money. But I think Peppers wants to play for a playoff contender, along with making a ton of money”