Bears defensive end Julius Peppers is 34. His production is declining. He’s due to earn a base salary of $13.9 million in 2014. And the Bears suddenly are trying to trade him.
Good luck with all that.
Peppers is one of several big-name players who were expected to be on the outs and who suddenly are on the market. Whether it’s Peppers or Titans running back Chris Johnson or Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis, the decision to suddenly thrust the player onto the trade block on the eve of the start of the new league year makes little sense.
Why not start the effort to trade the player earlier in the offseason? While a deal can’t be consummated until the moment the clock strikes 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, an agreement in principle can be reached well before the deal becomes official. That’s what happened last year with 49ers (now Chiefs) quarterback Alex Smith.
For Peppers, the only way he gets traded if is he agrees to a major cut in pay. No one will pay him $13.9 million. Unless he’s being sent to a place he specifically wants to play, there’s no reason for him to agree to take a dollar less than the amount to which he’s entitled.
And so he most likely won’t be traded, and he undoubtedly will be cut. And that six-year, $84 million contract will end up being a four-year, $53.5 million package.
So why do teams go through the charade of trying to engineer a trade in the hours before the league year starts? While it costs nothing to try, it’s highly unlikely that someone is going to give up a draft pick for a guy who soon will be available for no compensation to his current team.
Sometimes, a team will trade for a favorable contract. For most guys who become trade bait this week, the contract isn’t favorable. Which is one of the big reasons why the team wants to trade him in the first place.