Will Peppers have a new home by Friday?

In the rumor section on ESPN.com, the site speculates that Julius Peppers could have a new team by Friday, which is when teams can officially start signing free agents.

Julius Peppers will have a new team, and it could happen as quickly as this Friday. We continue to hear him linked to different teams, with varying degrees of certainty.

The Eagles and Patriots have been considered the front-runners for some time now, and the Bears also appear to be one of the front-runners for Peppers, given the fact that they have no picks in the first two rounds to find a new pass-rusher; in other words, any big personnel improvements will have to come from free agency. Bears LB Brian Urlacher seemed very pleased with the possibility of adding Peppers in recent comments to the Chicago Tribune. Meanwhile, at the scouting combine, leader of the Browns’ world Mike Holmgren discussed the Peppers possibility to the media, per NFL.com.

I think where Peppers will land will ultimately come down to two things: Money and whether or not he wants to play OLB in a 3-4. I’m sure he wants to play for a competitor too, but Peppers can also be lazy at times and if he has the chance to be a one dimensional pass rusher in a 3-4, then he may jump on the opportunity by signing with the Patriots or Browns.

The Bears have been linked to Peppers multiple times over the past week, but I can’t envision Jerry Angelo opening the team’s wallet in order to bring the defensive end to Chicago. The Bears could definitely use a pass rusher (really, what team couldn’t?), but if history is any indication, then there’s no doubt Angelo will once again go shopping in the offseason bargain bin to fill needs.

Another team I think we can safely cross off the potential candidates list is the Falcons, who are very familiar with the fact that Peppers will disappear during games and take plays off. The concept of adding Peppers to the same line as John Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux is enticing, but GM Thomas Dimitroff’s philosophy is to build via the draft. Plus, the Falcons already have younger, cheaper options than Peppers already on the roster in Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury, the latter of which is raw but has the size and speed to develop into a solid pass rusher.

If I were to make an official prediction as to where Peppers will land, my guess would be the Eagles. He wouldn’t be able to play OLB, but I think Philly would be willing to throw the money at him and he’d be intrigued by the possibility of helping the Eagles get to a Super Bowl.

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