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Peppers looks to be in his last season with Chicago

Peppers Getty Images

Before the 2013 season began, Bears defensive end Julius Peppers dropped his base salary from $12.9 million to $9.9 million.

Come 2014, the Bears likely will drop it all the way to zero.

Peppers, who has only one sack this season, is due to make $13.9 million next year, as part of an $18.1 million cap charge.  With the market for veteran pass rushers drying up and Peppers on the brink of turning 34, it’s hard to imagine the Bears being willing to pay even half that amount to keep Peppers around.

Bears G.M. Phil Emery, who was hired after Peppers was signed, gave a lukewarm assessment of Peppers’ performance this season.

“Julius, in his words and my words, we want him to continue to improve where he’s at as a player,” Emery said.  “I’ve seen some great individual plays and I think he wants to improve his consistency and so do the rest of us.”

Treating Peppers as a post-June 1 cap casualty would spread the cap consequences evenly over 2014 and 2015, at $4.183 million per year.  That’s more than $8 million in dead money, but still a lot less than what it will cost by way of cash and cap dollars to keep Peppers around.

Last year, veteran pass rushers on the right side of 30 weren’t able to cash in.  It’s hard to imagine anyone giving Peppers big money — and it’s easy to wonder whether he decides to finish his career with a sweetheart deal in Carolina, especially since the Panthers are becoming relevant.

Or maybe he’ll just lay on his giant pile of money, Huell Babineaux-style.

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28 Responses to “Peppers looks to be in his last season with Chicago”
  1. beardinals says: Oct 30, 2013 10:08 AM

    Should be common knowledge by now that these pass rush guys really do depend on their complimentary players on the “D”. Chicago is too decimated to allow Peppers to get anything done.

  2. gbmickey says: Oct 30, 2013 10:08 AM

    Washed up. The whole defense looks old and slow. Rodgers even shorthanded is going to carve them up.

  3. dldove77 says: Oct 30, 2013 10:10 AM

    Not a Hall-of-Famer.

  4. jazsrt says: Oct 30, 2013 10:11 AM

    Peppers’ production, or lack there of, is due to the fact that the rest of the D-line is decimated with injuries.

    Three starters are out-there is a reason they were the starters.

    Peppers is feeling the brunt of these injuries, while being completely healthy.

    I do know that the cap hit will not justify him playing in Chicago next year. In fact, I think even if he was where he was last year statistically this year, the team would have to part ways with him.

    18MM is a lot of cash for a D-End. Thanks Angeleo and Co.

  5. msalvash says: Oct 30, 2013 10:16 AM

    I love peppers in a bears uniform, but he often takes too many plays off. His performance has dropped big time as should his salary. If the bears make an offer next year he should take it. I don’t see him making the mega bucks anymore.

  6. punkyqb says: Oct 30, 2013 10:16 AM

    I like the guy but he hasn’t played great this year. I love what he brought to the team but it might be time to move on. Thanks for the memories of your first few years here. Maybe he can turn it around.

  7. nfloracle says: Oct 30, 2013 10:32 AM

    Perhaps Peppers can finish his career with a ring, just like the great Ricky Jackson did by signing with San Francisco at the tail end of his career after playing great ball for the Saints for many many years. Peppers is almost as much fun to watch as Jackson, though I don’t remember ever seeing Ricky not give 100% with every play.

  8. tommytd says: Oct 30, 2013 10:37 AM

    Knowing the Bears, he’ll probably be treated with the same dignity and respect afforded Brian Urlacher!

  9. trannesotabiqueens says: Oct 30, 2013 10:37 AM

    I still remember when he signed with the bears. Him, Chester Taylor, and that tight end standing there like the big 3 of the Miami heat. I always kinda felt sorry for Lovie Smith, was never scared of the bears offense, but that didnt matter because their defense usually matched points with their offense.

  10. farvite says: Oct 30, 2013 10:40 AM

    Ridiculous physical skill, but rarely posted the numbers to match.

  11. scoops1 says: Oct 30, 2013 10:42 AM

    Peppers hasn’t played Great consistently in his tenure with the Bears….

  12. kabasaman says: Oct 30, 2013 11:07 AM

    When Peppers was brought in it made a lot of sense. Him, with a healthy Tommy Harris would have been really,really good , but …. Just didn’t seem to ever come together…

  13. blackandbluedivision says: Oct 30, 2013 11:24 AM

    For those who blame the rest of the defensive injuries for Peppers struggles. Melton was injured in week 3. Peppers still wasn’t a factor in those first three weeks. Briggs just got hurt last game. Peppers still wasn’t a factor before then. The guy has lost a step.

    We need to blow up this defense. I don’t want to hear “We miss Lovie Smith” No that defense is old. We need to rebuild and start with that defensive line and secondary (safeties).

  14. kastout11 says: Oct 30, 2013 11:29 AM

    I think with a fresh start, he still has some left in the tank. I would be totally fine in Philly signs him to a FA contract in the offseason.

  15. panthaaaars says: Oct 30, 2013 11:35 AM

    well we dont want him back in carolina….biggest benedict arnold in our (admittedly short) team history

  16. Passionburnswithin says: Oct 30, 2013 11:37 AM

    There was a reason Carolina let him walk and it wasn’t because they loved him. He disappointed ownership and I can’t imagine they would want him back

  17. chazatlas says: Oct 30, 2013 12:26 PM

    We don’t need him in Carolina. We need to spend any “sweetheart deal” money on either Cam or Hardy’s upcoming deals or a new WR. We will need a replacement for Steve Smith.

  18. sreavis73 says: Oct 30, 2013 3:55 PM

    msalvash says: Oct 30, 2013 10:16 AM

    I love peppers in a bears uniform, but he often takes too many plays off. His performance has dropped big time as should his salary. If the bears make an offer next year he should take it. I don’t see him making the mega bucks anymore.

    We tried to warn you guys up there in Chicago when he went up there. Dude take 3/4 of the game off. No need for him in Carolina now!

  19. panthers4life78 says: Oct 30, 2013 5:48 PM

    You all can keep him! There’s a reason we call him “Judas” Peppers…..

  20. pancaketaco says: Oct 30, 2013 9:33 PM

    So I guess Mr. Richardson was right when he didn’t resign him and let him walk. And oh to all of you non panther fans at one point pep was offered more to stay in Carolina and turned it down.

  21. 11dancingditkas says: Oct 31, 2013 12:10 AM

    No complaints from this Bears fan. Unfortunately, there are no clean exits for star athletes from their playing career. Either they burnout Marino and Urlacher style, or they leave you feeling like they left you on the dance floor Barry Sanders style. Personally, I’m grateful he to have watched him wear the Bears navy blue and orange for the years he has, but it’s looking more and more like its time to hang the cleats up for good.

  22. slammincamnewton says: Oct 31, 2013 12:35 AM

    Takes too many plays off.

  23. thompsonway says: Oct 31, 2013 2:28 PM

    The sad fact is that Peppers would’ve had to have a monster year to even consider bringing him back for that amount of money.

  24. soul969 says: Nov 1, 2013 1:02 PM

    In a recent video Brad Biggs spoke about Pep in relationship to his age and what was interesting about his research is that only 5 players in the NFL have ever had seasons with double digit sacks at Pep’s age and beyond. One of those is Ricky Jackson and Chris Doleman is another.

    Pep has reached his point of diminishing returns and even with one of his typical years he was unaffordable in 2014 anyway. The Bears will designate him for a June 1st release and spread his dead cap hit over two years. Whether he’ll sign elsewhere or retire I don’t know but if he does play he may follow Marinelli or Lovie if Lovie gets another HC spot.

    Injuries are a small part of his problems if they exist at all. He played last year with a foot problem and was his usual dominant self both against the run and the pass. A much bigger problem is the way Tucker has changed the lines scheme and Pep alluded to that in an interview.

    The rest I believe is because he just doesn’t want to be in Chicago playing for Tucker. He’s not happy with the scheme or the way things are going and he’s slacked off. That’s what I see. He came to Chicago to play for Lovie Smith, Rod Marinelli and with Brian Urlacher and with all three gone I think the effort just isn’t there any longer. Like another wrote, “he’s already retired he just hasn’t announced it”.

  25. comeonnowguys says: Nov 1, 2013 2:09 PM

    People still think the Bears were in the wrong for letting Urlacher go?

    Real, living human beings with functioning brains?

    That can’t be right.

  26. larryboodry says: Nov 1, 2013 2:42 PM

    I like Peppers, but yeah, his time has passed.

  27. moeman79 says: Nov 1, 2013 4:22 PM

    this is the only year he has not performed, but 18.1 million is way to much for crap play,age catches up with everyone.

  28. mputelli55 says: Nov 4, 2013 11:19 PM

    Ya….you were ALL saying what?…go ahead delete my first comment but it still stands..Pepp is a BEAST!!

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