Julius Peppers finally signed the one year Franchise Tag tender the Panthers imposed on him. That's good for $16.7 million to play this year. $16.7 million!!!! Click HERE for the story on Peppers. Personally, it makes me sick because I was really hoping we wouldn't have to face him twice a year anymore. Peppers has desperately pleaded with the Panthers to trade him this offseason. This doesn't mean they won't trade him still, but now the Panthers hold all the cards. They can keep him for a year at that $16.7 million contract, they can trade him to the highest bidder, or they can re-negotiate with him and sign him to a longer term deal. There's a big difference in the NFL between trading a player that wants out and trading a player who is content. The latter typically yields a much bigger return. The article linked above suggests Peppers is now in a good place with the Panther organization. Again, this plays into the hands of the Panthers who can now ask more in return for any bidder. My hope was they would end up giving up Peppers to an AFC team for a 2nd round pick because of his constant whining to leave. That would have been perfect. That scenario seems further and further from possible. Peppers, when he tries, is the best defensive end in football. He's had patches of bad play from time to time, but it never seems to be against the Saints. Never. The guy has completely owned us for years and is a big reason why the Saints have been relatively unsuccessful against the Panthers the past 5 years. Looks like we're headed towards another year of playing him twice, which is too bad.
Here's a look at how he's performed in recent history against the Saints:
12/28/08: 33-31 Panthers win, Peppers= 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended
10/19/08: 30-7 Panthers win, Peppers= 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble
11/25/07: 31-6 Saints win, Peppers= 1 tackle, 1 interception, 1 pass defended
10/7/07: 16-13 Panthers win, Peppers= 6 tackles, 2 passes defended
12/31/06: 31-21 Panthers win, Peppers= No Stats
10/1/06: 21-18 Panthers win, Peppers= 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble
Lagniappe: Congrats to the LSU Tigers baseball team for winning the College Baseball World Series! 2009 National Champs.