I admit my postulation that Julius Peppers might end up in Miami was a shear guess based on little information. Yet the Dolphin fans quickly pointed out that such a trade is not a Bill Parcels type of move. The subsequent analysis focused on the Eagles as a potential landing place was not based on much more.Those fans also chimed in that DE is not a position of need for the Eagles, that they are happy with what they have.
This postulation is different as a Houston writer Keith Weiland makes a pretty darn good case that the Texans are moving behind the scenes to make a run at Peppers. Here are the points in the post that perked my interest:
- They (Houston) have cleared sizeable 2009 salary cap room in the last two weeks. Gone are Ahman Green, Morlon Greenwood, and the anticipated departures of Anthony Weaver and Sage Rosenfels. These four moves alone created roughly $8 million in additional cap flexibility, and they saved about $15 million in cash via base salaries and miscellaneous bonuses.
- Weaver's departure in particular is telling. He plays left defensive end, and his release saved an almost negligible $800,000 in cap space. As Gary Kubiak's first megaBuXXX free agent signing of his Texans tenure, there had likely been equal parts ego and optimism at play in keeping him around at least one more year, so his dismissal probably was not an easy one on the head coach. It also came two weeks or so after Green and Greenwood were let go, a passage of time not yet explained.
- The Texans are looking to accumulate draft picks. They are already expected to add the fourth rounder from the Vikings in exchange for Rosenfels, and there's a report that the team might be willing to shop wide receiver Jacoby Jones for a draft pick as well.
- Kubiak has maintained that Mario Williams' home is at right defensive end. With the release of Weaver, there is no apparent starter on the left side, other than Williams, of course.
- Kubiak has also been complimentary of the talent potentially available on the market. Ryans also seemed to imply that a major free agency move was forthcoming for the team.
- Peppers has called Houston his second home in the past. His agent, Carl Carey, makes Houston his first home. Carey actually informed the Panthers of Peppers' desire to play elsewhere from Houston.
- Peppers has spent much of his offseason in Houston. He is a client of Danny Arnold's at Plex near Sugarland.
Why else would Houston be set on clearing so much cap space this early if they weren't gearing up for going after a major FA? The fact Peppers is familiar with and likes Houston makes sense. Ever since Peppers off-season revelation that he wants to leave I've had the impression that he already had an idea of where he wanted to go. Why would he be so adamant about leaving when he doesn't know if it's a better situation for him (or does he?) With his agent located in Houston you would imagine he has a close relationship with the Texans ownership (though I'm not suggesting tampering, but some might...). Again, this postulation makes more sense than anything I've read or heard to date.
Here's a key statement from the 2004 interview from the 'second home' link above:
Peppers: Oh, it would definitely be special for me if I can get here (win the SB) because I work out here in Houston. And, I have family here in Houston that would love to see me get a ring in H-town.
He has family in Houston (his wife's maybe?) and he knows his way around the city. That's pretty darn compelling.
If you are curious how Texan fans would receive such a deal you can view a pertinent post and poll on this topic at Battle Red Blog. In this scenario the Texans would offer their #15 1st rounder, a 3rd and a 6th round. That #15 would be high enough to get one of the stud DT's we all covet. So how would such a trade be received in Carolina? Check my poll!