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Peppers to Patriots a real possibility

It is looking more and more like the 4-3 DE will be coming to New England:

The trade that sent Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs appears to be only the first phase of some major wheeling and dealing by the New England Patriots this offseason.

The second phase, NFL sources say, is likely to involve a trade that would send Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers to the Patriots in exchange for the second-round pick (34th overall) they received from the Chiefs on Feb. 28.

According to league sources, the Patriots and Panthers are hoping to complete the deal at some point between the March 22-25 NFL owners meetings and the start of the draft on April 25.

Peppers, on whom the Panthers have placed a franchise tag that assures him of a one-year contract worth $16.68 million, would be converted to outside linebacker in New England's 3-4 defense.

I'm pretty neutral at this point.  NE OLB's Pierre Woods and Adalius Thomas would've started with 2nd year man Shawn Crable as backup, so this could add a lot of depth or push one of the guys out of a starting OLB spot (my guess would be Woods).  We lost a step in our pass rush last year, so this may be a move to grab a real QB killer.

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