As Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers plays toward unrestricted free agency in the uncapped year of 2010 (where, at worst, he’ll make more than $20 million for one season in Carolina under the franchise tag), he’s not performing like a guy who’s chasing a $100 million carrot.
In three games, Peppers has one sack and ten tackles.
And so linebacker Jon Beason, a true team leader and one of the best young linebackers in the league, plans to have a chat to Peppers.
Beason shared his plans — which will now not be a surprise to Peppers — during a weekly appearance on WFNZ radio in Charlotte.
After watching Vikings defensive end Jared Allen generate 4.5 sacks against the Packers on Monday night, Beason decided that “I’m going to have a conversation with [Peppers].”
“The pressure is what you want to see . . . the intensity,” Beason said.
The discussion will be, per Beason, “brief and to the point.”
He said that he’ll say, “I need you to be there with me. I need everything you’ve got. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Peppers has been an up-and-down player at various points of his career, which began way back in 2002 after he was sandwiched between David Carr and Joey Harrington at the top of the draft.
After getting only 2.5 sacks in 2007, Peppers registered 14.5 in his contract year of 2008. He then made a push to get out of Charlotte. No one was interested in signing or trading for Peppers, to whom the Panthers had applied the franchise tag.
But while he played well in his contract year, this is another contract year. Unlike former Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who put the pedal to the metal for two straight seasons before striking it rich in free agency with the Redskins, Peppers seems to be slipping back to his 2007 form.
And, frankly, if the lure of a nine-figure contract won’t wake Peppers up, nothing Beason says will do the trick, either.