Panthers tried to lure Peppers home before Packers offer

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During last night’s Seahawks-Packers broadcast on NBC, Cris Collinsworth was discussing Green Bay’s acquisition of Julius Peppers and his conversion to outside linebacker in a 3-4.

And as almost an aside, he dropped what would have been huge news in Peppers’ first NFL home.

He was getting ready to go to Carolina, thinking he’d just go home and finish his career there,” Collinsworth said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “Then the Green Bay Packers called and said, ‘How’d you like to be a stand-up, 3-4 outside linebacker?’ And he said, ‘I’ve been waiting my whole life to do that.’”

Voth reports there were some preliminary talks between the team and the native-son defensive end, who came with the second pick in the 2002 NFL Draft and helped a team to two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl, but left unceremoniously for Chicago after spending a year under a franchise tag he tried to fight.

The link with home is reasonable, since enough time has passed. Peppers also has a close relationship with defensive line coach Eric Washington, who he worked with in Chicago.

The Panthers apparently talked with Peppers’ camp about a return, and thought there was a chance to bring him back, even after using the franchise tag on Greg Hardy. But when the Packers offered a three-year, $26 million contract, he quickly became a luxury the Panthers couldn’t afford.

It’s fascinating to think about as it pertains to 2015 as well. The Panthers have committed 21 percent of this year’s salary cap to defensive ends Charles Johnson and Hardy. After this season, Hardy’s expected to leave, and Johnson may be asked to take a pay cut.

At that point, having Peppers would have been a nice fall-back option — at least it was before the Packers offered him more money and a chance to do something new.

19 responses to “Panthers tried to lure Peppers home before Packers offer

  1. I love Peppers and Allen, but the biggest rivals in the NFC North overpaid for guys on the downside of their career. The Bears probably got the best deal of the two, but they both screwed themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions or Vikes take over the division for the next few years as the Pack tries to patchwork their past teams and the Bears continue to break what was already broken.

  2. I sure think that I am getting bored with Chris Collingsworthless and his inane comments. He is almost as bad as Joe Theismann got before he got the boot. It is about time to get a new voice up in the booth even if it is just to have a different voice. I am not a panic packer fan. We suffered the same problem that probably cost us victory against San Fran the last playoff game – dropped interceptions. As far as tackling is concerned – that is a concern but dont forget a few other teams havent tackled Lynch well. I am more piszzed off about the 2 stupid holding penalties that Jones took – last year it was Williams doing it, the year before it was Woodson. What the heck is the point in grabbing a guy when he goes by you – You KNOW it is going to draw a flag. That was 2 stops including a big sack that were denied because of a stupid play. Guys have been cut for making stupid plays like that.

  3. PS – Peppers played well – we need to fix the interior part of the line – and that is a tough team with Lynch and Harvin – didnt they eat up Denvers D last year?

  4. For about a third of his career Peppers has been one of the best DEs to ever play. And by a third of his career, I mean about every third play.

  5. Peppers is done…I saw him make a lame attempt to swipe at the ball last night, kind of a pathetic effort for a guy who’s making 8.75 mil a year. Is this not TACKLE football?

  6. Peppers will wind up retiring as a Panther. They’ll sign him to a one-day contract and he’ll ride off into the sunset……eventually!

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