Well that was unexpected! It’s hard to believe that the Packers started talking to Peppers, shipped him to Green Bay, and got him signed before anyone even spoke a word about it! I woke up this morning to a photo of Julius Peppers standing in Lambeau field, and honestly, I believe this is a great move.
Although Peppers is coming off of a “down” year compared to his usual standards, he can still be a highly productive player and at the price the Packers paid, it is a win-win situation. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Peppers contract contains 7.5 million in guarantees and will only count 3.5 million against the cap in 2014. Do fans still want DeMarcus Ware? Peppers numbers and impact were better than his last year and his 7.5 in guarantees can’t compare to Ware’s 20 million guaranteed.
Peppers will also bring something that the Packers were glaringly missing on defense last year in their first season without Charles Woodson, veteran leadership. Not only will he help the defense with his ability to rush the QB, but with young players on the D-Line like Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, and the recently resigned Mike Neal, Peppers presence almost certainly will make them better, followed by the rest of the defense.
What is probably the greatest part of this deal, at least to me anyway, is the shocked state of most Bears fans as they watch their beloved player sign off to their most hated NFC North rival. The Bears most certainly cut him due to his 18 million cap hit, and at age 34, it’s hard to blame them. That being said, Peppers still accounted for 29 ½ sacks over the last 3 seasons, and this move will obviously help the Pack and hurt the Bears moving forward. I’m pretty sure Jay Cutler will probably be losing some sleep over the next few months and is regretting that contract extension. Also, does anyone else think that it looks like the Packers basically traded M.D. Jennings for Julius Peppers?
Lastly the scheme difference does slightly concern me. Peppers has been playing in a 4-3 defense all of his career and it will be interesting to watch as he transitions to the Packers 3-4. However, I know that neither the Packers nor Peppers would have made this move if they didn’t believe that it would work. Peppers agent Carl Carey has stated that Peppers has always preferred a 3-4 system and feels like he can excel and thrive in it. But seriously, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers rushing from the same side!? Next season can’t come soon enough!
And with that, this is how I feel about the Packers signing of Julius Peppers and I want to know what you think! Do you agree or disagree? Do you think that he will have an impact for Packers next season, or do you think his best years are behind him? Leave a comment and let me know!