Jordan Gross got his millions when he signed on the dotted line earlier today. That’s when the Carolina Panthers decided to play hard ball and placed the franchise tag on Julius Peppers.
After placing the franchise tag on their star defensive end Thursday, general manager Marty Hurney stuck with the most strict description of the rights of a franchise player:
Hurney said the Panthers placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Peppers, which gives him the right to seek contract offers from another team. As a result, Peppers can bring the Panthers an offer sheet and the Panthers would have the right to either match the offer and keep Peppers under a multi-year deal, or receive two first-round picks as compensation from the other team.
The Panthers decided against placing an exclusive franchise tag on Peppers, which would have prevented him from going elsewhere.
The real interesting part of this was the quote from Hurney:
“Under the terms of the CBA, we designated him and he can go out and talk to teams about an offer sheet,” said Hurney. “We can match. We’ve also said many times how much we value Julius and we would like him to play here.”
Hurney wouldn’t speculate on whether the Panthers would be willing to accept anything less than two first-round picks for Peppers.
“The franchise tag is the franchise tag,” he said. “With it, go those rules.”
Ouch! Whoa, Nelly! Now, it sounds like the team is going to not only play by the rules but they also sent a message loud and clear – “Julius, if you want to play somewhere else, fine. But you’ll be doing it our way.”
Oh, sure, Marty said that they value Julius and want him to be in a Panthers uniform next season but this is exactly what so many of the fans wanted – get something in return for the guy or die trying. Plus, no one seems all that happy with Peppers’ decision in the first place. We all wanted to see some tough love.