The good, bad and the ugly of the Bears signing Julius Peppers

If you’re a Chicago Bear fan, you’re probably going through a wave of emotions right now after learning that your team just signed free agent Julius Peppers to a six-year deal. So allow me to play NFL physiologist for a moment and break down what the signing could mean for the Bears.

The Good:
Peppers is a freak – a true athletic marvel. He’s averaged over 10 sacks a year in his eight-year career and racked up 25 QB takedowns in his past two seasons. Without question, the Bears needed to fill a massive void along their defensive line by adding a premier pass rusher, which they did by signing Peppers. He’s someone whose mere presence alone will make his teammates (Tommie Harris anyone?) better around him, by freeing them up to make plays. He was the crown jewel of the 2010 free agency period and he gives hope to a fan base that has been utterly dejected after the Bears crashed and burned in 2009 despite having high expectations following the Jay Cutler trade. Along with the deal for Cutler, the Peppers’ signing might also signal a new era for the Bears, one in which a once cheap organization will become more aggressive when it comes to acquiring new players.

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Redskins nearing deal with Julius Peppers?

Here’s a shock: Daniel Snyder might be ready to throw a ton of money at an unrestricted free agent.

According to sports talk show host Lance Zierlein of 1560AM in Houston, the Redskins are “charging hard after” Julius Peppers. Zierlein writes that today’s “bloodbath” in which the Redskins released 10 players will help pave the way for the team to sign Peppers by tomorrow.

Zierlein brings up a good point that Washington took similar steps last year, right before signing DT Albert Haynesworth to a mega-multi million deal. Although I don’t know how Zierlein would have inside information on the Redskins seeing as how he works in Houston, nobody will be surprised if Snyder signs the biggest free agent of the offseason. (And for that matter, nobody would be surprised if Peppers signed with whatever team offered him the most money.)

12:15AM ET Update: Zierlein writes on his Twitter page that the Bears aren’t going to let Peppers get away from them.

Will Peppers have a new home by Friday?

In the rumor section on, 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

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.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Bears the front-runners for Peppers?

The latest in the daily Julius Peppers-rumor mill is that the Bears could be the front-runners to land the hot ticket free agent.


Well, the Bears didn’t make the “Final Eight,” and they 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 comments to the Chicago Tribune, and we’re not sure how much import will be assigned to his feelings by management, but he is the leader of the defense.

The Bears have always been among the cheapest organizations in the league, although they did pay dearly (both in terms of money and draft picks) to bring Jay Cutler to Chicago last offseason and they might be willing to open their wallets again to nab Peppers.

That said, if history is any indication then GM Jerry Angelo isn’t going to spend recklessly, if at all this offseason. Every year the Bears have gapping holes to fill and every year, Angelo does his shopping in the bargain bin. When the Bears needed to bolster their offensive line last season, Angelo signed Orlando Pace and Frank Omiyale on the cheap and he got what he paid for. Now he has to figure out how he’s going to address his needs along the O-line without having draft selections in either of the first two rounds.

One player I could see Angelo making a play for, however, is Aaron Kampman. Kampman wasn’t a fit in Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense in Green Bay last season and he knows the NFC North. He would come cheaper than Peppers and assuming he hasn’t lost his ability to rush the passer from a 4-3 end position, he makes sense for the Bears.

Panthers won’t use franchise tag on Peppers

The Panthers have conceded the inevitable: Julius Peppers will become a free agent this offseason.

According to, Carolina won’t use its franchise tag on Peppers unlike it did last offseason.

If the Panthers had opted to tag Peppers, it would have cost them $21.4 million — about $1.3 million per game — which the team deemed too pricey. Peppers will be one of the highest-profile free agents since Reggie White.

Teams have until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday to use their franchise tags.

Let the bidding war begin. Any number of teams ranging from the Patriots to the Eagles to the Saints could make a play for Peppers, who will be the biggest name on the free agent market this offseason. Perhaps the most interesting decision Peppers faces is whether or not he wants to stand up and play outside linebacker in a 3-4 like he suggested last year, or if he wants to stay at his traditional 4-3 end position.

We’ll find out soon.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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