It is looking more and more like Julius Peppers will not be a member of the 2009 Carolina Panthers. Some have seen this coming, as the Panthers offered Peppers a contract that would make him the highest paid DE in the game early this season, and he still hasn’t signed it.
“Julius is firm in his decision that he needs a change,” his agent Carl Carey said. “He feels that he can thrive in another system. While he has been selected to four Pro Bowls and designated as an All-Pro during his career, he feels that he has yet to develop to his full potential. This is the case of a great player who seeks to become an elite one.””
This to me screams that Peppers simply does not believe in the coaches currently employed by Carolina. Many want defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac fired, and Peppers may be one of them. If Trgovac is fired before free agency begins, maybe Peppers will agree to the long term deal.
Marty Hurney’s reaction to the call he recieved on Thursday from Peppers’ agent:
“Obviously, Carl’s comments are disappointing,” Hurney said. “We have consistently reiterated to Carl in a number of ways how much we value Julius and we plan to continue having ongoing communications.”
The Panthers most likely course of action in this situation is to francise Peppers. This will pay him $17 million in 2009. If he is franchised, however, he will most likely be traded for a minimum of a 1st and 3rd round pick. The Panthers would likely only want to trade him to an AFC opponent, so we do not face him more than once every couple of years. New England, Baltimore, and Miami are possible destinations. One option I feel the Panthers cannot take is to let Peppers walk. He is simply too valuable of an asset to simply release. If another team signs Peppers after being franchised, they must give the Panthers two first round picks. This is a bad situation for the Panthers, and possibly the best solution is to recieve draft picks. A sad ending to a great ride for Peppers in Carolina.