There are 13 days remaining, in which a team can decide who to place their franchise/transition tag on any two players within it’s roster.
By March 5, the Panthers will have designated their two franchise/transition players. Julius Peppers will not be one of them.
Citing a league source, Pro Football Talk reports the Panthers don’t plan to use the franchise tag on Peppers for a second year.
The obvious reason given, the amount it will cost (a 10% increase from last year’s salary): $21.8 million or $1.326 million. Per game.
I’m not going to say whether Peppers is worth it or not, but I will say there are quarterbacks who are worth that kind of cash. Only a handful, if that, too.
So in the end, Peppers has effectively cut his ties with the organization; the Panthers front office helped him make that decision, as well.
The interesting question, is what team is going to offer him that bank-breaking salary, with so many factors involved?
The NFL is going into an uncapped year, but could be in for a lockout in the 2011 season, meaning no football until 2012.
Peppers will be 31 next year. After the lockout, he’ll be 32. I don’t care who you are, the body ages, and while he might be mentally ready regardless of his age, the body tends to act differently.
Add to that someone who brings his “A” game inconsistently from week-to-week, and you really have to wonder where he’ll wind up, and if he’ll most likely have to settle on a less-than-stellar, breaking-of-the-bank contract.
The Redskins is the only team that comes to mind that would be foolish enough to offer the kind of salary Peppers is looking for. But they already have a well-paid, under-performing defensive player in Albert Haynesworth.
Sure, Peppers can be a vast improvement over what any team might have, but that depends on when Peppers feels like playing like a man possessed. Otherwise, he’s a player with a reputation to under-perform.
Until March 5, the Panthers retain Peppers trade rights, which is a moot point, considering no team is allowed to trade any players prior to March 5. Unless Carolina decides to fool us all and franchise Peppers, he will become an unrestricted free agent as of March 5.
Whether or not the Panthers will receive a compensatory draft pick from the NFL, remains to be seen. If they do, it won’t be anything more than a third-round pick. All things considered, it’s better than nothing.